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AMERICAN  SCIENCE  SERIES-ADVANCED   COURSE 


THE    PRINCIPLES 


OP 


PSYCHOLOGY 


BY 

WILLIAM  JAMES 

/  y 
PROFESSOR   OF   PSYCHOLOGY   IN    HARVARD   UNIVERSITY 


IN  TWO   VOLUMES 


VOL.  I 


NEW  YORK 
HENRY   HOL'J'  AND   COMPANY 


COPYRIGHT,    1890 

BY 
HENRY    HOLT    &    CO 


COPYRIGHT,     1918 

BY 

ALICE    H.     JAMES 
August,  1931 


BF 


I8<f0 

YJ 


PRINTED    IN    THE 
UNITED    STATES    OF    AMERICA 


TO 
MY    DEAR   FRIEND 

FRANCOIS    PILLON. 

AS   A   TOKEN   OF   AFFECTION, 

AND   AN   ACKNOWLEDGMENT   OF   WHAT  I  OWE 
TO   THE 

CRITIQUE  PHILOSOPHIQUE. 


PREFACE. 


THE  treatise  which  follows  has  in  the  main  grown  up  in 
connection  with  the  author's  class-room  instruction  in 
Psychology,  although  it  is  true  that  some  of  the  chapters 
are  more  *  metaphysical,'  and  others  fuller  of  detail,  than 
is  suitable  for  students  who  are  going  over  the  subject  for 
the  first  time.  The  consequence  of  this  is  that,  in  spite  of 
the  exclusion  of  the  important  subjects  of  pleasure  and 
pain,  and  moral  and  aesthetic  feelings  and  judgments,  the 
work  has  grown  to  a  length  which  no  one  can  regret  more 
than  the  writer  himself.  The  man  must  indeed  be  sanguine 
who,  in  this  crowded  age,  can  hope  to  have  many  readers 
for  fourteen  hundred  continuous  pages  from  his  pen.  But 
wer  Vieles  bringt  wird  Manchem  etivas  bringen  ;  and,  by  judi 
ciously  skipping  according  to  their  several  needs,  I  am  sure 
that  many  sorts  of  readers,  even  those  who  are  just  begin 
ning  the  study  of  the  subject,  will  find  my  book  of  use. 
Since  the  beginners  are  most  in  need  of  guidance,  I  sug 
gest  for  their  behoof  that  they  omit  altogether  on  a  first 
reading  chapters  6,  7,  8,  10  (from  page  330  to  page  371), 
12,  13,  15,  17,  20,  21,  and  28.  The  better  to  awaken  the 
neophyte's  interest,  it  is  possible  that  the  wise  order  would 
be  to  pass  directly  from  chapter  4  to  chapters  23,  24,  25, 
and  26,  and  thence  to  return  to  the  first  volume  again. 
Chapter  20,  on  Space-perception,  is  a  terrible  thing,  which, 
unless  written  with  all  that  detail,  could  not  be  fairly 
treated  at  all.  An  abridgment  of  it,  called  '  The  Spatial 
Quale,'  which  appeared  in  the  Journal  of  Speculative 
Philosophy,  vol.  xm.  p.  64,  may  be  found  by  some  per 
sons  a  useful  substitute  for  the  entire  chapter. 

I  have  kept  close  to  the  point  of  view  of  natural  science 
throughout  the  book.  Every  natural  science  assumes  cer- 


vi  PREFACE. 

tain  data  uncritically,  and  declines  to  challenge  the  ele 
ments  between  which  its  own  '  laws '  obtain,  and  from 
which  its  own  deductions  are  carried  on.  Psychology,  the 
science  of  finite  individual  minds,  assumes  as  its  data  (1) 
thoughts  and  feelings,  and  (2)  a  physical  world  in  time  and 
space  with  which  they  coexist  and  which  (3)  they  know.  Of 
course  these  data  themselves  are  discussable  ;  but  the  dis 
cussion  of  them  (as  of  other  elements)  is  called  meta 
physics  and  falls  outside  the  province  of  this  book.  This 
book,  assuming  that  thoughts  and  feelings  exist  and  are 
vehicles  of  knowledge,  thereupon  contends  that  psychology 
when  she  has  ascertained  the  empirical  correlation  of  the 
various  sorts  of  thought  or  feeling  with  definite  conditions 
of  the  brain,  can  go  no  farther — can  go  no  farther,  that  is, 
as  a  natural  science.  If  she  goes  farther  she  becomes 
metaphysical.  All  attempts  to  explain  our  phenomenally 
given  thoughts  as  products  of  deeper-lying  entities 
(whether  the  latter  be  named  '  Soul,'  '  Transcendental 
Ego,'  '  Ideas,'  or  '  Elementary  Units  of  Consciousness  ')  are 
metaphysical.  This  book  consequently  rejects  both  the 
associationist  and  the  spiritualist  theories  ;  and  in  this 
strictly  positivistic  point  of  view  consists  the  only  feature 
of  it  for  which  I  feel  tempted  to  claim  originality.  Of 
course  this  point  of  view  is  anything  but  ultimate.  Men 
must  keep  thinking ;  and  the  data  assumed  by  psychology, 
just  like  those  assumed  by  physics  and  the  other  natural 
sciences,  must  some  time  be  overhauled.  The  effort  to 
overhaul  them  clearly  and  thoroughly  is  metaphysics  ; 
but  metaphysics  can  only  perform  her  task  well  when  dis 
tinctly  conscious  of  its  great  extent.  Metaphysics  fragmen 
tary,  irresponsible,  and  half-awake,  and  unconscious  that 
she  is  metaphysical,  spoils  two  good  things  when  she  in 
jects  herself  into  a  natural  science.  And  it  seems  to  me 
that  the  theories  both  of  a  spiritual  agent  and  of  associated 
*  ideas'  are,  as  they  figure  in  the  psychology-books,  just  such 
metaphysics  as  this.  Even  if  their  results  be  true,  it 
would  be  as  well  to  keep  them,  as  thus  presented,  out  of 
psychology  as  it  is  to  keep  the  results  of  idealism  out  of 
physics. 

I  have  therefore  treated  our  passing  thoughts  as  inte- 


PREFACE.  Vll 

gers,  and  regarded  tlie  mere  laws  of  their  coexistence  with 
brain-states  as  the  ultimate  laws  for  our  science.  The 
reader  will  in  vain  seek  for  any  closed  system  in  the  book. 
It  is  mainly  a  mass  of  descriptive  details,  running  out  into 
queries  which  only  a  metaphysics  alive  to  the  weight  of 
her  task  can  hope  successfully  to  deal  with.  That  will 
perhaps  be  centuries  hence ;  and  meanwhile  the  best  mark 
of  health  that  a  science  can  show  is  this  unfinished-seeming 
front. 

The  completion  of  the  book  has  been  so  slow  that 
several  chapters  have  been  published  successively  in  Mind, 
the  Journal  of  Speculative  Philosophy,  the  Popular  Science 
Monthly,  and  Scribner's  Magazine.  Acknowledgment  is 
made  in  the  proper  places. 

The  bibliography,  I  regret  to  say,  is  quite  unsystem 
atic.  I  have  habitually  given  my  authority  for  special 
experimental  facts  ;  but  beyond  that  I  have  aimed  mainly 
to  cite  books  that  would  probably  be  actually  used  by 
the  ordinary  American  college-student  in  his  collateral 
reading.  The  bibliography  in  W.  Volkmann  von  Yolkmar's 
Lehrbuch  der  Psychologic  (1875)  is  so  complete,  up  to  its 
date,  that  there  is  no  need  of  an  inferior  duplicate.  And 
for  more  recent  references,  Sully's  Outlines,  Dewey's  Psy 
chology,  and  Baldwin's  Handbook  of  Psychology  may  be 
advantageously  used. 

Finally,  where  one  owes  to  so  many,  it  seems  absurd  to 
single  out  particular  creditors  ;  yet  I  cannot  resist  the 
temptation  at  the  end  of  my  first  literary  venture  to  record 
my  gratitude  for  the  inspiration  I  have  got  from  the  writ 
ings  of  J.  S.  Mill,  Lotze,  Benouvier,  Hodgson,  and  Wundt, 
and  from  the  intellectual  companionship  (to  name  only  five 
names)  of  Chauncey  Wright  and  Charles  Peirce  in  old 
times,  and  more  recently  of  Stanley  Hall,  James  Putnam, 
and  Josiah  Royce. 

HARVARD  UNIVERSITY,  August  1890. 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  I. 

PA09 

THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHOLOGY, 1 

Mental  Manifestations  depend  on  Cerebral  Conditions,  1. 
Pursuit  of  ends  and  choice  are  the  marks  of  Mind's  presence,  6. 

CHAPTER  II. 
THE  FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN, 12 

Reflex,  semi-reflex,  and  voluntary  acts,  12.  The  Frog's  nerve- 
centres,  14.  General  notion  of  the  hemispheres,  20.  Their 
Education — the  Meynert  scheme,  24.  The  phrenological  con 
trasted  with  the  physiological  conception,  27.  The  localization 
of  function  in  the  hemispheres,  30.  The  motor  zone,  31.  Motor 
Aphasia,  37.  The  sight-centre,  41.  Mental  blindness,  48.  The 
hearing-centre,  52.  Sensory  Aphasia,  54.  Centres  for  smell  and 
taste,  57.  The  touch-centre,  58.  Man's  Consciousness  limited  to 
the  hemispheres,  65.  The  restitution  of  function,  67.  Final 
correction  of  the  Meynert  scheme,  73.  Conclusions,  78. 

CHAPTER  III. 
ON  SOME  GENERAL  CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY,         .    81 

The  summation  of  Stimuli,  82.  Reaction-time,  85.  Cerebral 
blood-supply,  97.  Cerebral  Thermometry,  99.  Phosphorus  and 
Thought,  101. 

CHAPTER  IV. 
HABIT, 104 

Due  to  plasticity  of  neural  matter,  105.  Produces  ease  of 
action,  112.  Diminishes  attention,  115.  Concatenated  perform 
ances,  116.  Ethical  implications  and  pedagogic  maxims,  120. 

CHAPTER  V. 

THE  AUTOMATON-THEORY, 128 

The  theory  described,  128.  Reasons  for  it,  133.  Reasons 
against  it,  138. 

iz 


X  CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER  VI. 

P40B 

THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY, 145 

Evolutionary  Psychology  demands  a  Mind-dust,  146.  Some 
alleged  proofs  that  it  exists,  150.  Refutation  of  these  proofs,  154. 
Self-compounding  of  mental  facts  is  inadmissible,  158.  Can 
states  of  mind  be  unconscious?  162.  Refutation  of  alleged  proofs 
of  unconscious  thought,  164.  Difficulty  of  stating  the  connection 
between  mind  and  brain,  176.  '  The  Soul '  is  logically  the  least 
objectionable  hypothesis,  180.  Conclusion,  182. 

CHAPTER  VII. 

THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY,      .        .        .  183 

Psychology  is  a  natural  Science,  183.  Introspection,  185. 
Experiment,  192.  Sources  of  error,  194.  The  '  Psychologist's 
fallacy,'  196. 

CHAPTER   VIII. 
THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS,     .        .        .199 

Time  relations  :  lapses  of  Consciousness— Locke  «.  Descartes, 
200.  The  'unconsciousness'  of  hysterics  not  genuine,  202.' 
Minds  may  split  into  dissociated  parts,  206.  Space-relations! 
the  Seat  of  the  Soul,  214.  Cognitive  relations,  216.  The  Psychol 
ogist's  point  of  view,  218.  Two  kinds  of  knowledge,  acquaint 
ance  and  knowledge  about,  221. 

CHAPTER  IX. 
THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT,  .  224 

Consciousness  tends  to  the  personal  form,  225.  It  is  in  con 
stant  change,  229.  It  is  sensibly  continuous,  237.  •  Substantive ' 
'and  '  transitive  '  parts  of  Consciousness,  243.  Feelings  of  rela 
tion,  245.  Feelings  of  tendency,  249.  The  'fringe'  of  the 
object,  258.  The  feeling  of  rational  sequence,  261.  Thought 
possible  in  any  kind  of  mental  material,  265.  Thought  and  lan 
guage,  267.  Consciousness  is  cognitive,  271.  The  word  Object 

275.  Every  cognition  is  due  to  one  integral  pulse  of  thought' 

276.  Diagrams  of  Thought's  stream,  279.     Thought  is  always 
selective,  284.  J 

CHAPTER  X. 
THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF,      ...  291 

The  Empirical  Self  or  Me,  291.     Its  constituents,  292*    The 

material  self,  292.    The  Social  Self,  293.    The  Spiritual  Self,  296 

acuity  of  apprehending  Thought  as  a  purely  spiritual  activity' 


CONTENTS.  XI 

PAGK 

299.  Emotions  of  Self,  305.  Rivalry  and  conflict  of  one's  different 
selves,  309.  Their  hierarchy,  313.  What  Self  we  love  in  '  Self- 
love,'  317.  The  Pure  Ego,  329.  The  verifiable  ground  of  the 
sense  of  personal  identity,  332.  The  passing  Thought  is  the  only 
Thinker  which  Psychology  requires,  338.  Theories  of  Self-con 
sciousness  :  1)  The  theory  of  the  Soul,  342.  2)  The  Association ist 
theory,  350.  3)  The  Transcendentalist  theory,  360.  The  muta 
tions  of  the  Self,  373.  Insane  delusions,  375.  Alternating  selves, 
379.  Mediumships  or  possessions,  393.  Summary,  400. 

CHAPTER  XI. 
ATTENTION, 402 

Its  neglect  by  English  psychologists,  402.  Description  of  it, 
404.  To  how  many  things  can  we  attend  at  ouce?  405.  Wundt's 
experiments  on  displacement  of  date  of  impressions  simultaneously 
attended  to,  410.  Personal  equation,  413.  The  varieties  of 
attention,  416.  Passive  attention,  418.  Voluntary  attention,  420. 
Attention's  effects  on  sensation,  425  ; — on  discrimination,  426  ; — 
on  recollection,  427  ;— on  reaction-time,  427.  The  neural  pro 
cess  in  attention :  1)  Accommodation  of  sense-organ,  434. 
2)  Preperception,  438.  Is  voluntary  attention  a  resultant  or  a 
force?  447.  The  effort  to  attend  can  be  conceived  as  a 
resultant,  450.  Conclusion,  453.  Acquired  Inattention,  455. 

CHAPTER  XII. 
CONCEPTION, 459 

The  sense  of  sameness,  459.  Conception  defined,  461.  Con 
ceptions  are  unchangeable,  464.  Abstract  ideas,  468.  Universals, 
473.  The  conception  '  of  the  same  '  is  not  the  '  same  state  '  of 
mind,  480. 

CHAPTER  XIII. 
DISCRIMINATION  AND  COMPARISON, 483 

Locke  on  discrimination,  483.  Martineau  ditto,  484.  Simul 
taneous  sensations  originally  fuse  into  one  object,  488.  The 
principle  of  mediate  comparison,  489.  Not  all  differences  are 
differences  of  composition,  490.  The  conditions  of  discrimina 
tion,  494.  The  sensation  of  difference,  495.  The  transcendental- 
ist  theory  of  the  perception  of  differences  uncalled  for,  498.  The 
process  of  analysis,  502.  The  process  of  abstraction,  505.  The 
improvement  of  discrimination  by  practice,  508.  Its  two  causes, 
510.  Practical  interests  limit  our  discrimination,  515.  Reaction- 
time  after  discrimination,  523.  The  perception  of  likeness,  528. 
The  magnitude  of  differences,  530.  The  measurement  of  dis- 


xii  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

criminative  sensibility  :  Weber's  law,  533.     Fechner's  interpreta 
tion  of  this  as  the  psycho-physic  law,  537.    Criticism  thereof,  545. 

CHAPTER  XIV. 

ASSOCIATION, 550 

The  problem  of  the  connection  of  our  thoughts,  550.  It 
depends  on  mechanical  conditions,  553.  Association  is  of  objects 
thought- of,  not  of  '  ideas,'  554.  The  rapidity  of  association,  557. 
The  '  law  of  contiguity,'  561.  The  elementary  law  of  association, 
566.  Impartial  redintegration,  569.  Ordinary  or  mixed  associa 
tion,  571.  The  law  of  interest,  572.  Association  by  similarity, 
578.  Elementary  expression  of  the  difference  between  the  three 
kinds  of  association,  581.  Association  in  voluntary  thought,  583. 
Similarity  no  elementary  law,  590.  History  of  the  doctrine  of 
association,  594. 

CHAPTER  XV. 

THE  PERCEPTION  OF  TIME, 605 

The  sensible  present,  606.  Its  duration  is  the  primitive  time- 
perception,  608.  Accuracy  of  our  estimate  of  short  durations, 
611.  We  have  no  sense  for  empty  time,  619.  Variations  of  our 
time-estimate,  624.  The  feeling  of  past  time  is  a  present  feeling, 
627.  Its  cerebral  process,  632. 

CHAPTER  XVI. 
MEMORY, 643 

Primary  memory,  643.  Analysis  of  the  phenomenon  of  mem 
ory,  648.  Retention  and  reproduction  are  both  caused  by  paths 
of  association  in  the  brain,  653.  The  conditions  of  goodness  in 
memory,  659.  Native  retentiveness  is  unchangeable,  663.  All  im 
provement  of  memory  consists  in  better  thinking,  667.  Other  con 
ditions  of  good  memory,  669.  Recognition,  or  the  sense  of  famil 
iarity,  673.  Exact  measurements  of  memory,  676.  Forgetting, 
679.  Pathological  cases,  681.  Professor  Ladd  criticised,  687. 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


CHAPTEK  I. 

THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHOLOGY. 

PSYCHOLOGY  is  the  Science  of  Mental  Life,  both  of  its 
phenomena  and  of  their  conditions.  The  phenomena  are 
such  things  as  we  call  feelings,  desires,  cognitions,  reason 
ings,  decisions,  and  the  like ;  and,  superficially  considered, 
their  variety  and  complexity  is  such  as  to  leave  a  chaotic 
impression  on  the  observer.  The  most  natural  and  con 
sequently  the  earliest  way  of  unifying  the  material  was, 
first,  to  classify  it  as  well  as  might  be,  and,  secondly,  to 
affiliate  the  diverse  mental  mod&d  thus  found,  upon  a 
simple  entity,  the  personal  Soul,  of  which  they  are  taken 
to  be  so  many  facultative  manifestations.  Now,  for  in 
stance,  the  Soul  manifests  its  faculty  of  Memory,  now  of 
Keasoning,  now  of  Volition,  or  again  its  Imagination  or  its 
Appetite.  This  is  the  orthodox  '  spiritualistic '  theory  of 
scholasticism  and  of  common-sense.  Another  and  a  less 
obvious  way  of  unifying  the  chaos  is  to  seek  common  ele 
ments  in  the  divers  mental  facts  rather  than  a  common 
agent  behind  them,  and  to  explain  them  constructively  by 
the  various  forms  of  arrangement  of  these  elements,  as  one 
explains  houses  by  stones  aad  bricks.  The  '  association- 
ist'  schools  of  Herbart  in  Germany,  and  of  Hume  the 
Mills  and  Bain  in  Britain  have  thus  constructed  a  psychology 
ivithout  a  soid  by  taking  discrete  'ideas,'  faint  or  vivid, 
and  showing  how,  by  their  cohesions,  repulsions,  and  forms 


2  PSYCHOLOGY. 

of  succession,  such  tilings  as  reminiscences,  perceptions, 
emotions,  volitions,  passions,  theories,  and  all  the  other 
furnishings  of  an  individual's  mind  may  be  engendered. 
The  very  Self  or  ego  of  the  individual  comes  in  this 
way  to  be  viewed  no  longer  as  the  pre-existing  source  of 
the  representations,  but  rather  as  their  last  and  most  com 
plicated  fruit. 

Now,  if  we  strive  rigorously  to  simplify  the  phenomena 
in  either  of  these  ways,  we  soon  become  aware  of  inade 
quacies  in  our  method.  Any  particular  cognition,  for  ex 
ample,  or  recollection,  is  accounted  for  on  the  soul-theory 
by  being  referred  to  the  spiritual  faculties  of  Cognition 
or  of  Memory.  These  faculties  themselves  are  thought 
of  as  absolute  properties  of  the  soul ;  that  is,  to  take 
the  case  of  memory,  no  reason  is  given  why  we  should 
remember  a  fact  as  it  happened,  except  that  so  to  re 
member  it  constitutes  the  essence  of  our  Kecollective 
Power.  We  may,  as  spiritualists,  try  to  explain  our  mem 
ory's  failures  and  blunders  by  secondary  causes.  But 
its  successes  can  invoke  no  factors  save  the  existence  of 
certain  objective  things  to  be  remembered  on  the  one 
hand,  and  of  our  faculty  of  memory  on  the  other.  When, 
for  instance,  I  recall  my  graduation-day,  and  drag  all  its 
incidents  and  emotions  up  from  death's  dateless  night,  no 
mechanical  cause  can  explain  this  process,  nor  can  any 
analysis  reduce  it  to  lower  terms  or  make  its  nature  seem 
other  than  an  ultimate  datum,  which,  whether  we  rebel  01 
not  at  its  mysteriousness,  must  simply  be  taken  for  granted 
if  we  are  to  psychologize  at  all.  However  the  associationist 
may  represent  the  present  ideas  as  thronging  and  arranging 
themselves,  still,  the  spiritualist  insists,  he  has  in  the  end  to 
admit  that  something,  be  it  brain,  be  it  'ideas,'  be  it  «  asso 
ciation/  knoics  past  time  as  past,  and  fills  it  out  with  this 
or  that  event.  And  when  the  spiritualist  calls  memory  an 
'irreducible  faculty,'  he  says  no  more  than  this  admission 
of  the  associationist  already  grants. 

And  yet  the  admission  is  far  from  being  a  satisfactory 
simplification  of  the  concrete  facts.  For  why  should  this 
absolute  god-given  Faculty  retain  so  much  better  the  events 
of  yesterday  than  those  of  last  year,  and,  best  of  all,  those 


THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.  3 

of  an  hour  ago  ?  Why,  again,  in  old  age  should  its  grasp 
of  childhood's  events  seem  firmest  ?  Why  should  illness 
and  exhaustion  enfeeble  it  ?  Why  should  repeating  an  ex 
perience  strengthen  our  recollection  of  it  ?  Why  should 
drugs,  fevers,  asphyxia,  and  excitement  resuscitate  things 
long  since  forgotten  ?  If  we  content  ourselves  with  merely 
affirming  that  the  faculty  of  memory  is  so  peculiarly  con 
stituted  by  nature  as  to  exhibit  just  these  oddities,  we  seem 
little  the  better  for  having  invoked  it,  for  our  explanation  \ 
becomes  as  complicated  as  that  of  the  crude  facts  with  which 
we  started.  Moreover  there  is  something  grotesque  and 
irrational  in  the  supposition  that  the  soul  is  equipped  witl 
elementary  powers  of  such  an  ingeniously  intricate  sort 
Why  should  our  memory  cling  more  easily  to  the  near  than 
the  remote  ?  Why  should  it  lose  its  grasp  of  proper  sooner 
than  of  abstract  names  ?  Such  peculiarities  seem  quite  fan 
tastic  ;  and  might,  for  aught  we  can  see  a  priori,  be  the 
precise  opposites  of  what  they  are.  Evidently,  then,  the 
faculty  does  not  exist  absolutely,  but  ivorks  under  conditions ; 
and  the  quest  of  the  conditions  becomes  the  psychologist's 
most  interesting  task. 

However  firmly  he  may  hold  to  the  soul  and  her  re 
membering  faculty,  he  must  acknowledge  that  she  never 
exerts  the  latter  without  a  cue,  and  that  something  must  al 
ways  precede  and  remind  us  of  whatever  we  are  to  recollect 
"  An  idea  /"  says  the  associationist,  "  an  idea  associated  with 
the  remembered  thing ;  and  this  explains  also  why  things 
repeatedly  met  with  are  more  easily  recollected,  for  their  as' 
sociates  on  the  various  occasions  furnish  so  many  distinct 
avenues  of  recall."  But  this  does  not  explain  the  effects  of 
fever,  exhaustion,  hypnotism,  old  age,  and  the  like.  And 
in  general,  the  pure  associationist's  account  of  our  mental 
life  is  almost  as  bewildering  as  that  of  the  pure  spiritualist. 
This  multitude  of  ideas,  existing  absolutely,  jet  clinging 
together,  and  weaving  an  endless  carpet  of  themselves,  like 
dominoes  in  ceaseless  change,  or  the  bits  of  glass  in  a 
kaleidoscope, — whence  do  they  get  their  fantastic  laws  of 
clinging,  and  why  do  they  cling  in  just  the  shapes  they  dc  ? 

For  this  the  associationist  must  introduce  the  order  of 
experience  in  the  outer  world.     The  dance  of  the  ideas  is 


4  PSYCHOLOGY. 

a  copy,  somewhat  mutilated  and  altered,  of  the  order  of 
j  phenomena.     But  the  slightest  reflection  shows  that  phe 
nomena  have  absolutely  no  power  to  influence  our  ideas 
until  they  have  first  impressed  our  senses  and  our  brain. 
-  The  bare  existence  of  a  past  fact  is  no  ground  for  our  re 
membering  it.    Unless  we  have  seen  it,  or  somehow  under 
gone  it,  we  shall  never  know  of  its  having  been.     The  expe- 
Ariences  of  the  body  are  thus  one  of  the  conditions  of  the 
llfaculty  of  memory  being  what  it  is.      And  a  very   small 
amount  of  reflection  on  facts  shows  that  one  part  of_  the 
body,  namely,  the  brain,  is  the  part  whose  experiences  are 
directly  concerned.     If  the  nervous  communication  be  cut 
off  between  the  brain  and  other  parts,  the  experiences  of 
those  other  parts  are  non-existent  for  the  mind.     The  eye  j 
is  blind,  the  ear  deaf,  the  hand  insensible  and  motionless. ' 
And  conversely,  if  the  brain  be  injured,  consciousness  is 
abolished  or  altered,  even  although  every  other  organ  in 
the  body  be  ready  to  play  its  normal  part.     A  blow  on  the 
head,  a  sudden  subtraction  of  blood,  the  pressure  of  an 
apoplectic  hemorrhage,  may  have  the  first  effect;  whilst  a 
very  few  ounces  of  alcohol  or  grains  of  opium  or  hasheesh, 
or  a  whiff  of  chloroform  or  nitrous  oxide  gas,  are  sure  to 
have  the  second.     The  delirium  of  fever,  the  altered  self 
of   insanity,    are   all    due   to    foreign    matters    circulating 
through   the    brain,    or  to   pathological   changes    in   that 
organ's  substance.      The  fact  that  the  brain  is   the  one 
i  immediate  bodily  condition  of    the   mental   operations  is 
'•  indeed    so   universally    admitted   nowadays  that   I    need 
spend  no    more    time   in  illustrating  it,   but   will  simply 
postulate  it  and  pass  on.       The  whole  remainder  of  the 
•jbook  will  be  more  or  less  of  a  proof  that  the  postulate  was 
'  correct. 

Bodily   experiences,  therefore,   and  more   particularly 
brain-experiences,  must  take   a  place  amongst  those  con 
ditions  of  the  mentallife  of  which  Psychology  need  take 
i  account.      The  spiritualist  and  the  associationist  must  both 
\be  'centralists,'  to  the  extent  at   least  of   admitting   that 
certain   peculiarities  in  the  way  of  working  of  their   own 
favorite  principles  are  explicable  only  by  the   fact  that  the 
brain  laws  are  a  codeterminant  of  the  result. 


THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.  6 

Our  first  conclusion,  then,  is  that  a  certain  amount  of 
brain-physiology  must  be  presupposed  or  included  in 
Psychology.* 

In  still  another  way  the  pyschologist  is  forced  to  be 
something  of  a  nerve-physiologist.  Mental  phenomena  are  | 
not  only  conditioned  a  parteante  by  bodily  processes;  but  * 
they  lead  to  them  a  parte  post.  That  they  lead  to  acts  is  of ' 
course  the  most  familiar  of  truths,  but  I  do  not  merely  mean 
acts  in  the  sense  of  voluntary  and  deliberate  muscular 
performances.  Mental  states  occasion  also  changes  in  the 
calibre  of  blood-vessels,  or  alteration  in  the  heart-beats,  or 
processes  more  subtle  still,  in  glands  and  viscera.  If  these 
are  taken  into  account,  as  well  as  acts  which  follow  at  some 
remote  period  because  the  mental  state  was  once  there,  it  will 
be  safe  to  lay  down  the  general  law  that  no  mental  modifica 
tion  ever  occurs  ivhich  is  not  accompanied  orfolloiued  by  a  bodily 
change.  The  ideas  and  feelings,  e.g.,  which  these  present 
printed  characters  excite  in  the  reader's  mind  not  only 
occasion  movements  of  his  eyes  and  nascent  movements  o| 
articulation  in  him,  but  will  some  day  make  him  speak,  01 
take  sides  in  a  discussion,  or  give  advice,  or  choose  a  book 
to  read,  differently  from  what  would  have  been  the  case  had  ] 
they  never  impressed  his  retina.  Our  psychology  must  there 
fore  take  account  not  only  of  the  conditions  antecedent  to 
mental  states,  but  of  their  resultant  consequences  as  well. 

But  actions  originally  prompted  by  conscious   intelli 
gence   may  grow  so   automatic   by  dint   of  habit  as  to  be 
apparently  unconsciously  performed.     Standing,  walking, 
buttoning   and    unbuttoning,  piano-playing,  talking,  even    < 
saying  one's  prayers,  may  be  done  when  the  mind  is  ab-  I 
sorbed   in    other    things.      The    performances   of    animal 
instinct   seern   semi-automatic,  and  the  reflex  acts  of  self- 
preservation  certainly  are  so.     Yet  they  resemble  intelli 
gent  acts  in  bringing  about  the  same  ends  at  which  the  ani 
mals'  consciousness,  on  other  occasions,  deliberately  aims. 

*  Of.  Geo.  T.  Ladd :  Elements  of  Physiological  Psychology  (1887),  pt 
m,  chap,  in,  §§  9,  12. 


6  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Shall  the  study  of  such  machine-like  yet  purposive  acts  as 
these  be  included  in  Psychology  ? 

The  boundary- line  of  the  mental  is  certainly  vague.  It 
is  better  not  to  be  pedantic,  but  to  let  the  science  be  as 
vague  as  its  subject,  and  include  such  phenomena  as  these 
if  by  so  doing  we  can  throw  any  light  on  the  main  business 
in  hand.  It  will  ere  long  be  seen,  I  trust,  that  we  can  ; 
and  that  we  gain  much  more  by  a  broad  than  by  a  narrow 
conception  of  our  subject.  At  a  certain  stage  in  the  devel 
opment  of  every  science  a  degree  of  vagueness  is  what 
best  consists  with  fertility.  On  the  whole,  few  recent  for 
mulas  have  done  more  real  service  of  a  rough  sort  in  psy 
chology  than  the  Spencerian  one  that  the  essence  of  mental 
life  and  of  bodily  life  are  one,  namely,  '  the  adjustment  of 
inner  to  outer  relations.'  Such  a  formula  is  vagueness 
incarnate;  but  because  it  takes  into  account  the  fact  that 
minds  inhabit  environments  which  act  on  them  and  on 
which  they  in  turn  react ;  because,  in  short,  it  takes  mind 
in  the  midst  of  all  its  concrete  relations,  it  is  immensely 
more  fertile  than  the  old-fashioned  '  rational  psychology,' 
j  which  treated  the  soul  as  a  detached  existent,  sufficient 
*  unto  itself,  and  assumed  to  consider  only  its  nature  and 
properties.  I  shall  therefore  feel  free  to  make  any  sallies 
into  zoology  or  into  pure  nerve-physiology  which  may 
seem  instructive  for  our  purposes,  but  otherwise  shall  leave 
those  sciences  to  the  physiologists. 

Can  we  state  more  distinctly  still  the  manner  in  which 
the  mental  life  seems  to  intervene  between  impressions 
made  from  without  upon  the  body,  and  reactions  of  the 
body  upon  the  outer  world  again  ?  Let  us  look  at  a  few 
facts. 

If  some  iron  filings  be  sprinkled  on  a  table  and  a  mag 
net  brought  near  them,  they  will  fly  through  the  air  for  a 
certain  distance  and  stick  to  its  surface.  A  savage  see 
ing  the  phenomenon  explains  it  as  the  result  of  an  attrac 
tion  or  love  between  the  magnet  and  the  filings.  But 
let  a  card  cover  the  poles  of  the  magnet,  and  the  filings 
will  press  forever  against  its  surface  without  its  ever  oc 
curring  to  them  to  pass  around  its  sides  and  thus  come  into 


THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.  7 

more  direct  contact  with  the  object  of  their  love.  Blo~w 
bubbles  through  a  tube  into  the  bottom  of  a  pail  of  water, 
they  will  rise  to  the  surface  and  mingle  with  the  air.  Their 
action  may  again  be  poetically  interpreted  as  due  to  a 
longing  to  reccmbine  with  the  mother-atmosphere  above 
the  surface.  But  if  you  invert  a  jar  full  of  water  over  the 
pail,  they  will  rise  and  remain  lodged  beneath  its  bottom, 
shut  in  from  the  outer  air,  although  a  slight  deflection 
from  their  course  at  the  outset,  or  a  re-descent  towards  the 
rim  of  the  jar  when  they  found  their  upward  course  im 
peded,  would  easily  have  set  them  free. 

If  now  we  pass  from  such  actions  as  these  to  those  of 
living  things,  we  notice  a  striking  difference.  Romeo  wants 
Juliet  as  the  filings  want  the  magnet ;  and  if  no  obstacles 
intervene  he  moves  towards  her  by  as  straight  a  line  as 
they.  But  Borneo  and  Juliet,  if  a  wall  be  built  between 
them,  do  not  remain  idiotically  pressing  their  faces  against 
its  opposite  sides  like  the  magnet  and  the  filings  with  the 
card.  Borneo  soon  finds  a  circuitous  way,  by  scaling  the 
wall  or  otherwise,  of  touching  Juliet's  lips  directly.  With 
the  filings  the  path  is  fixed;  whether  it  reaches  the  end 
depends  on  accidents.  With  the  lover  it  is  the  end  which 
is  fixed,  the  path  may  be  modified  indefinitely. 

Suppose  a  living  frog  in  the  position  in  which  we  placed 
our  bubbles  of  air,  namely,  at  the  bottom  of  a  jar  of  water. 
The  want  jf  breath  will  soon  make  him  also  long  to  rejoin 
the  mother-atmosphere,  and  he  will  take  the  shortest  path 
to  his  end  by  swimming  straight  upwards.  But  if  a  jar 
full  of  water  be  inverted  over  him,  he  will  not,  like  the  • 
bubbles,  perpetually  press  his  nose  against  its  unyielding 
roof,  but  will  restlessly  explore  the  neighborhood  until 
by  re-descending  again  he  has  discovered  a  path  round  its 
brim  to  the  goal  of  his  desires.  Again  the  fixed  end,  the 
varying  means ! 

Such  contrasts  between  living  and  inanimate  perform 
ances  end  by  leading  men  to  deny  that  in  the  physical 
world  final  purposes  exist  at  all.  Loves  and  desires  are 
to-day  no  longer  imputed  to  particles  of  iron  or  of  air. 
No  one  supposes  now  that  the  end  of  any  activity  which 
they  may  display  is  an  ideal  purpose  presiding  over  the 


8  PSYCHOLOGY. 

activity  from  its  outset  and  soliciting  or  drawing  it  into 
being  by  a  sort  of  vis  afronte.  The  end,  on  the  contrary,  is 
deemed  a  mere  passive  result,  pushed  into  being  a  tergo, 
having  had,  so  to  speak,  no  voice  in  its  own  production. 
Alter  the  pre-existing  conditions,  and  with  inorganic  ma 
terials  you  bring  forth  each  time  a  different  apparent  end. 
But  with  intelligent  agents,  altering  the  conditions  changes 
the  activity  displayed,  but  not  the  end  reached ;  for  here 
the  idea  of  the  yet  unrealized  end  co-operates  with  the  con 
ditions  to  determine  what  the  activities  shall  be. 

The  pursuance  of  future  ends  and  the  choice  of  means  f of 
their  attainment  arq  thus  the  mark  and  criterion  of  the  presence 
of  mentality  in  a  phenomenon.  We  all  use  this  test  to  dis 
criminate  between  an  intelligent  and  a  mechanical  per 
formance.  Wo  impute  no  mentality  to  sticks  and  stones, 
because  they  never  seem  to  move  for  the  sake  of  anything, 
but  always  when  pushed,  and  then  indifferently  and  with  no 
sign  of  choice.  So  we  unhesitatingly  call  them  senseless. 

Just  so  we  form  our  decision  upon  the  deepest  of  all 
philosophic  problems  :  Is  the  Kosmos  an  expression  of 
intelligence  rational  in  its  inward  nature,  or  a  brute  ex- 
]  ternal  fact  pure  and  simple  ?  If  we  find  ourselves,  in  con- 
templating  it,  unable  to  banish  the  impression  that  it  is  a 
realm  of  final  purposes,  that  it  exists  for  the  sake  of  some 
thing,  we  place  intelligence  at  the  heart  of  it  and  have  a 
religion.  If,  on  the  contrary,  in  surveying  its  irremediable 
flux,  we  can  think  of  the  present  only  as  so  much  mere 
mechanical  sprouting  from  the  past,  occurring  with  no 
reference  to  the  future,  we  are  atheists  and  materialists. 

In  the  lengthy  discussions  which  psychologists  have 
carried  on  about  the  amount  of  intelligence  displayed  by 
lower  mammals,  or  the  amount  of  consciousness  involved  in 
the  functions  of  the  nerve-centres  of  reptiles,  the  same  test 
has  always  been  applied :  Is  the  character  of  the  actions 
such  that  we  must  believe  them  to  be  performed/or  the  sake 
of  their  result  ?  The  result  in  question,  as  we  shall  here 
after  abundantly  see,  is  as  a  rule  a  useful  one,— the  animal 
is,  on  the  whole,  safer  under  the  circumstances  for  bringing 
it  forth.  So  far  the  action  has  a  teleological  character; 


THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHO  LOOT.  9 

but  such  mere  outward  teleology  as  this  might  still  be  the 
blind  result  of  vis  a  tergo.  The  growth  and  movements  of 
plants,  the  processes  of  development,  digestion,  secretion, 
etc.,  in  animals,  supply  innumerable  instances  of  per 
formances  useful  to  the  individual  which  may  nevertheless 
be,  and  by  most  of  us  are  supposed  to  be,  produced  by 
automatic  mechanism.  The  physiologist  does  not  con 
fidently  assert  conscious  intelligence  in  the  frog's  spinal 
cord  until  he  has  shown  that  the  useful  result  which  the 
nervous  machinery  brings  forth  under  a  given  irritation 
remains  the  same  when  the  machinery  is  altered.  If,  to  take 
the  stock  instance,  the  right  knee  of  a  headless  frog  be  irri 
tated  with  acid,  the  right  foot  will  wipe  it  off.  "When,  how 
ever,  this  foot  is  amputated,  the  animal  will  often  raise  the  j  / 
left  foot  to  the  spot  and  wipe  the  offending  material  away. 

Pfliiger  and  Lewes  reason  from  such  facts  in  the  follow 
ing  way  :  If  the  first  reaction  were  the  result  of  mere  machin 
ery,  they  say  ;  if  that  irritated  portion  of  the  skin  discharged 
the  right  leg  as  a  trigger  discharges  its  own  barrel  of  a  shot 
gun  ;  then  amputating  the  right  foot  would  indeed  frustrate 
the  wiping,  but  would  not  make  the  left  leg  move.  It  would 
simply  result  in  the  right  stump  moving  through  the  empty 
air  (which  is  in  fact  the  phenomenon  sometimes  observed). 
The  right  trigger  makes  no  effort  to  discharge  the  left  barrel 
if  the  right  one  be  unloaded  ;  nor  does  an  electrical  ma 
chine  ever  get  restless  because  it  can  only  emit  sparks, 
and  not  hem  pillow-cases  like  a  sewing-machine. 

If,  on  the  contrary,  the  right  leg  originally  moved  for  the 
purpose  of  wiping  the  acid,  then  nothing  is  more  natural 
than  that,  when  the  easiest  means  of  effecting  that  purpose 
prove  fruitless,  other  means  should  be  tried.  Every  failure 
must  keep  the  animal  in  a  state  of  disappointment  which 
will  lead  to  all  sorts  of  new  trials  and  devices ;  and  tran 
quillity  will  not  ensue  till  one  of  these,  by  a  happy  stroke, 
achieves  the  wished-for  end. 

In  a  similar  way  Goltz  ascribes  intelligence  to  the 
frog's  optic  lobes  and  cerebellum.  We  alluded  above  to  the 
manner  in  which  a  sound  frog  imprisoned  in  water  will  dis 
cover  an  outlet  to  the  atmosphere.  Goltz  found  that  frogs 
deprived  of  their  cerebral  hemispheres  would  often  exhibit 


10  PSYCHOLOGY. 

a  like  ingenuity.  Such  a  frog,  after  rising  from  the  bottom 
and  finding  his  farther  upward  progress  checked  by  the 
glass  bell  which  has  been  inverted  over  him,  will  not  per 
sist  in  butting  his  nose  against  the  obstacle  until  dead  of 
suffocation,  but  will  often  re-descend  and  emerge  from  under 
its  rim  as  if,  not  a  definite  mechanical  propulsion  upwards, 
but  rather  a  conscious  desire  to  reach  the  air  by  hook  or 
crook  were  the  main-spring  of  his  activity.  Goltz  con 
cluded  from  this  that  the  hemispheres  are  not  the  sole  seat 
of  intellect  in  frogs.  He  made  the  same  inference  from 
observing  that  a  brainless  frog  will  turn  over  from  his  back 
to  his  belly  when  one  of  his  legs  is  sewed  up,  although  the 
movements  required  are  then  very  different  from  those 
excited  under  normal  circumstances  by  the  same  annoying 
position.  They  seem  determined,  consequently,  not  merely 
by  the  antecedent  irritant,  but  by  the  final  end, — though  the 
irritant  of  course  is  what  makes  the  end  desired. 

Another  brilliant  German  author,  Liebmann,*  argues 
against  the  brain's  mechanism  accounting  for  mental  action, 
by  very  similar  considerations.  A  machine  as  such,  he 
says,  will  bring  forth  right  results  when  it  is  in  good  order, 
and  wrong  results  if  out  of  repair.  But  both  kinds  of  result 
flow  with  equally  fatal  necessity  from  their  conditions.  We 
cannot  suppose  the  clock-work  whose  structure  fatally 
determines  it  to  a  certain  rate  of  speed,  noticing  that  this 
speed  is  too  slow  or  too  fast  and  vainly  trying  to  correct  it. 
Its  conscience,  if  it  have  any,  should  be  as  good  as  that  of 
the  best  chronometer,  for  both  alike  obey  equally  well  the 
y  same  eternal  mechanical  laws — laws  from  behind.  But  if 
the  brain  be  out  of  order  and  the  man  says  "  Twice  four  are 
two,"  instead  of  "  Twice  four  are  eight,"  or  else  "  I  must  go 
to  the  coal  to  buy  the  wharf,"  instead  of  "  I  must  go  to  the 
wharf  to  buy  the  coal,"  instantly  there  arises  a  conscious- 
I  ness  of  error.  The  wrong  performance,  though  it  obey  the 
same  mechanical  law  as  the  right,  is  nevertheless  con 
demned,— condemned  as  contradicting  the  inner  law—the 
law  from  in  front,  the  purpose  or  ideal  for  which  the  brain 
should  act,  whether  it  do  so  or  not. 

*  Zur  Analysis  der  Wirklichkeit,  p.  489. 


THE  SCOPE  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.  11 

We  need  not  discuss  here  whether  these  writers  in  draw 
ing  their  conclusion  have  done  justice  to  all  the  premises 
involved  in  the  cases  they  treat  of.     We  quote  their  argu 
ments  only  to  show  how  they  appeal  to  the  principle  that        / 
no  actions  but  such  as  are  done  for  an  end,  and  shoiv  a  choice  of    /y 
means,  can  be  called  indubitable  expressions  of  Mind. 

I  shall  then  adopt  this  as  the  criterion  by  which  to  cir 
cumscribe  the  subject-matter  of  this  work  so  far  as  action  \ 
enters  into  it.     Many  nervous  performances  will  therefore 
be  unmentioned,  as  being  purely  physiological.     Nor  will  the 
anatomy  of  the  nervous  system  and  organs  of   sense  be 
described   anew.      The  reader  will  find  in  H.  N.  Martin's 
*  Human  Body,'  in  G.  T.  Ladd's  '  Physiological  Psychol 
ogy,'  and  in  all  the  other  standard  Anatomies  and  Physi 
ologies,  a  mass  of  information  which  we  must  regard  as  pre 
liminary  and  take  for  granted  in  the  present  work.*     Of 
the  functions  of  the  cerebral  hemispheres,  however,  since  i 
they  directly  subserve   consciousness,  it  will   be  well   to  j 
give  some  little  account. 

*  Nothing  is  easier  than  to  familiarize  one's  self  with  the  mammalian 
brain.  Get  a  sheep's  head,  a  small  saw,  chisel,  scalpel  and  forceps  (all 
three  can  best  be  had  from  a  surgical-instrument  maker),  and  unravel  its 
parts  either  by  the  aid  of  a  human  dissecting  book, such  as  Holden's 'Manual 
of  Anatomy,'  or  by  the  specific  directions  ad  Iwc  given  in  such  books  as 
Foster  and  Langley's  'Practical  Physiology'  (Macmillan)  or  Morrell's 
'Comparative  Anatomy  and  Dissection  of  Mammalia'  (Longmans). 


CHAPTER  II. 
THE  FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN. 

IF  I  begin  chopping  the  foot  of  a  tree,  its  branches  are 
unmoved  by  my  act,  and  its  leaves  murmur  as  peacefully  as 
ever  in  the  wind.  If,  on  the  contrary,  I  do  violence  to  the 
foot  of  a  fellow-man,  the  rest  of  his  body  instantly  responds 
to  the  aggression  by  movements  of  alarm  or  defence.  The 
reason  of  this  difference  is  that  the  man  has  a  nervous  system 
whilst  the  tree  has  none ;  and  the  function  of  the  nervous 
system  is  to  bring  each  part  into  harmonious  co-operation 
with  every  other.  The  afferent  nerves,  when  excited  by 
some  physical  irritant,  be  this  as  gross  in  its  mode  of  oper 
ation  as  a  chopping  axe  or  as  subtle  as  the  waves  of  light, 
conveys  the  excitement  to  the  nervous  centres.  The  com 
motion  set  up  in  the  centres  does  not  stop  there,  but  dis 
charges  itself,  if  at  all  strong,  through  the  efferent  nerves 
into  muscles  and  glands,  exciting  movements  of  the  limbs 
and  viscera,  or  acts  of  secretion,  which  vary  with  the  animal, 
and  with  the  irritant  applied.  These  acts  of  response  have 
usually  the  common  character  of  being  of  service.  They 
ward  off  the  noxious  stimulus  and  support  the  beneficial 
one ;  whilst  if,  in  itself  indifferent,  the  stimulus  be  a  sign  of 
some  distant  circumstance  of  practical  importance,  the 
animal's  acts  are  addressed  to  this  circumstance  so  as  to 
avoid  its  perils  or  secure  its  benefits,  as  the  case  may  be. 
To  take  a  common  example,  if  I  hear  the  conductor  calling 
'  All  aboard ! '  as  I  enter  the  depot,  my  heart  first  stops, 
then  palpitates,  and  my  legs  respond  to  the  air-waves 
falling  on  my  tympanum  by  quickening  their  movements. 
If  I  stumble  as  I  run,  the  sensation  of  falling  provokes  a 
movement  of  the  hands  towards  the  direction  of  the  fall, 
the  effect  of  which  is  to  shield  the  body  from  too  sudden  a 
shock.  If  a  cinder  enter  my  eye,  its  lids  close  forcibly 
and  a  copious  flow  of  tears  tends  to  wash  it  out. 

12 


THE  FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  13 

These  three  responses  to  a  sensational  stimulus  differ, 
however,  in  many  respects.  The  closure  of  the  eye  and  the 
lachrymation  are  quite  involuntary,  and  so  is  the  disturbance 
of  the  heart.  Such  involuntary  responses  we  know  as 
'  reflex '  acts.  The  motion  of  the  arms  to  break  the  shock 
of  falling  may  also  be  called  reflex,  since  it  occurs  too 
quickly  to  be  deliberately  intended.  Whether  it  be  instinc 
tive  or  whether  it  result  from  the  pedestrian  education  of 
childhood  may  be  doubtful ;  it  is,  at  any  rate,  less  automatic 
than  the  previous  acts,  for  a  man  might  by  conscious  effort 
learn  to  perform  it  more  skilfully,  or  even  to  suppress  it  alto 
gether.  Actions  of  this  kind,  into  which  instinct  and  volition 
enter  upon  equal  terms,  have  been  called  '  semi-reflex.'  The 
act  of  running  towards  the  train,  on  the  other  hand,  has  no 
instinctive  element  about  it.  It  is  purely  the  result  of  edu 
cation,  and  is  preceded  by  a  consciousness  of  the  purpose  to 
be  attained  and  a  distinct  mandate  of  the  will.  It  is  a  '  vol 
untary  act.'  Thus  the  animal's  reflex  and  voluntary  per 
formances  shade  into  each  other  gradually,  being  connected 
by  acts  which  may  often  occur  automatically,  but  may  also 
be  modified  by  conscious  intelligence. 

An  outside  observer,  unable  to  perceive  the  accompany 
ing  consciousness,  might  be  wholly  at  a  loss  to  discriminate 
between  the  automatic  acts  and  those  which  volition  es 
corted.  But  if  the  criterion  of  mind's  existence  be  the 
choice  of  the  proper  means  for  the  attainment  of  a  supposed 
end,  all  the  acts  seem  to  be  inspired  by  intelligence,  for 
appropriateness  characterizes  them  all  alike.  This  fact,  now, 
has  led  to  two  quite  opposite  theories  about  the  relation  to 
consciousness  of  the  nervous  functions.  Some  authors, 
finding  that  the  higher  voluntary  ones  seem  to  require  the 
guidance  of  feeling,  conclude  that  over  the  lowest  reflexes 
some  such  feeling  also  presides,  though  it  may  be  a  feeling 
of  which  tve  remain  unconscious.  Others,  finding  that  reflex 
and  semi-automatic  acts  may,  notwithstanding  their  appro 
priateness,  take  place  with  an  unconsciousness  apparently 
complete,  fly  to  the  opposite  extreme  and  maintain  that  the 
appropriateness  even  of  voluntary  actions  owes  nothing  to 
the  fact  that  consciousness  attends  them.  They  are,  accord 
ing  to  these  writers,  results  oi'  physiological  mechanism  pure 


14  PSYCHOLOGY. 

and  simple.  In  a  near  chapter  we  shall  return  to  this 
controversy  again.  Let  us  now  look  a  little  more  closely 
at  the  brain  and  at  the  ways  in  which  its  states  may  be  sup 
posed  to  condition  those  of  the  mind. 


THE  PROG'S  NERVE-CENTRES. 

Both  the  minute  anatomy  and  the  detailed  physiology 
of  the  brain  are  achievements  of  the  present  generation,  or 
rather  we  may  say  (beginning  with  Meynert)  of  the  past 
twenty  years.  Many  points  are  still  obscure  and  subject 
to  controversy ;  but  a  general  way  of  conceiving  the  organ 
has  been  reached  on  all  hands  which  in  its  main  feature 
seems  not  unlikely  to  stand,  and  which  even  gives  a  most 
plausible  scheme  of  the  way  in  which  cerebral  and  mental 
operations  go  hand  in  hand. 

The  best  way  to  enter  the  subject  will  be  to  take  a  lower 
creature,  like  a  frog,  and  study  by  the  vivisectional  method 
the  functions  of  his  different  nerve-centres.  The  frog's 
nerve-centres  are  figured  in  the  accompany 
ing  diagram,  which  needs  no  further  ex 
planation.  I  will  first  proceed  to  state 
what  happens  when  various  amounts  of 
the  anterior  parts  are  removed,  in  different 
frogs,  in  the  way  in  which  an  ordinary 
~  *  student  removes  them  ;  that  is,  with  no  ex 
treme  precautions  as  to  the  purity  of  the 
operation.  We  shall  in  this  way  reach  a 
very  simple  conception  of  the  functions  of 
the  various  centres,  involving  the  strongest 
possible  contrast  between  the  cerebral 
FIO.  \.—c  H,  cerebral  hemispheres  and  the  lower  lobes.  This 

Hemispheres;  O  Th,     ,  .  .,,     ,  T  i       i  •  j 

Optic  fhaiaini;  o  L,  sharp   conception   will    have   didactic   ad- 

Optic    Lobes;      C6,  „  .,      .          „,  ,  ,• 

Cerebellum ;    M  o,  vantages,    lor   it   is  olten  very    instructive 

Medulla  Oblonjrata;   .  .,,  •         i  <•  i  j 

s  c,  spinal  Cord,  to  start  with  too  simple  a  iormula  and 
correct  it  later  on.  Our  first  formula,  as  we  shall  later 
see,  will  have  to  be  softened  down  somewhat  by  the  results 
of  more  careful  experimentation  both  on  frogs  and  birds, 
and  by  those  of  the  most  recent  observations  on  dogs, 


THE  FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  15 

monkeys,  and  man.  But  it  will  put  us,  from  the  outset,  in 
clear  possession  of  some  fundamental  notions  and  distinc 
tions  which  we  could  otherwise  not  gain  so  well,  and  none 
of  which  the  later  more  completed  view  will  overturn. 

If,  then,  we  reduce  the  frog's  nervous  system  to  the 
spinal  cord  alone,  by  making  a  section  behind  the  base  of 
the  skull,  between  the  spinal  cord  and  the  medulla  oblon- 
gata,  thereby  cutting  off  the  brain  from  all  connection  with 
the  rest  of  the  body,  the  frog  will  still  continue  to  live,  but 
with  a  very  peculiarly  modified  activity.  It  ceases  to  breathe 
or  swallow ;  it  lies  flat  on  its  belly,  and  does  not,  like  a 
normal  frog,  sit  up  on  its  fore  paws,  though  its  hind  legs  are 
kept,  as  usual,  folded  against  its  body  and  immediately  re 
sume  this  position  if  drawn  out.  If  thrown  on  its  back,  it 
lies  there  quietly,  without  turning  over  like  a  normal  frog. 
Locomotion  and  voice  seem  entirely  abolished.  If  we  sus 
pend  it  by  the  nose,  and  irritate  different  portions  of  its 
skin  by  acid,  it  performs  a  set  of  remarkable  '  defensive ' 
movements  calculated  to  wipe  away  the  irritant.  Thus,  if 
the  breast  be  touched,  both  fore  paws  will  rub  it  vigorously; 
if  we  touch  the  outer  side  of  the  elbow,  the  hind  foot  of  the 
same  side  will  rise  directly  to  the  spot  and  wipe  it.  The 
back  of  the  foot  will  rub  the  knee  if  that  be  attacked,  whilst 
if  the  foot  be  cut  away,  the  stump  will  make  ineffectual 
movements,  and  then,  in  many  frogs,  a  pause  will  come,  as 
if  for  deliberation,  succeeded  by  a  rapid  passage  of  the 
opposite  unmutilated  foot  to  the  acidulated  spot. 

The  most  striking  character  of  all  these  movements, 
after  their  teleological  appropriateness,  is  their  precision. 
They  vary,  in  sensitive  frogs  and  with  a  proper  amount  of 
irritation,  so  little  as  almost  to  resemble  in  their  machine- 
like  regularity  the  performances  of  a  jumping-jack,  whose 
legs  must  twitch  whenever  you  pull  the  string.  The  spinal 
cord  of  the  frog  thus  contains  arrangements  of  cells  and 
fibres  fitted  to  convert  skin  irritations  into  movements  of 
defence.  We  may  call  it  the  centre  for  defensive  movements 
in  this  animal.  We  may  indeed  go  farther  than  this,  and 
by  cutting  the  spinal  cord  in  various  places  find  that  its 
separate  segments  are  independent  mechanisms,  for  appro 
priate  activities  of  the  head  and  of  the  arms  and  legs  respec- 


16  PSYCHOLOGY. 

tively.  The  segment  governing  the  arms  is  especially 
active,  in  male  frogs,  in  the  breeding  season;  and  these  mem 
bers  alone  with  the  breast  and  back  appertaining  to  them, 
everything  else  being  cut  away,  will  then  actively  grasp  a 
finger  placed  between  them  and  remain  hanging  to  it  for  a 
considerable  time. 

The  spinal  cord  in  other  animals  has  analogous  powers. 
Even  in  man  it  makes  movements  of  defence.  Paraplegics 
draw  up  their  legs  when  tickled ;  and  Eobin,  on  tickling 
the  breast  of  a  criminal  an  hour  after  decapitation,  saw  the 
arm  and  hand  move  towards  the  spot.  Of  the  lower  func 
tions  of  the  mammalian  cord,  studied  so  ably  by  Goltz  and 
others,  this  is  not  the  place  to  speak. 

If,  in  a  second  animal,  the  cut  be  made  just  behind  the 
optic  lobes  so  that  the  cerebellum  and  medulla  oblongata 
remain  attached  to  the  cord,  then  swallowing,  breathing, 
crawling,  and  a  rather  enfeebled  jumping  and  swimming 
are  added  to  the  movements  previously  observed.*  There 
are  other  reflexes  too.  The  animal,  thrown  on  his  back, 
immediately  turns  over  to  his  belly.  Placed  in  a  shallow 
bowl,  which  is  floated  on  water  and  made  to  rotate,  he  re 
sponds  to  the  rotation  by  first  turning  his  head  and  then 
waltzing  around  with  his  entire  body,  in  the  opposite  direc 
tion  to  the  whirling  of  the  bowl.  If  his  support  be  tilted  so 
that  his  head  points  downwards,  he  points  it  up  ;  he  points 
it  down  if  it  be  pointed  upwards,  to  the  right  if  it  be 
pointed  to  the  left,  etc.  But  his  reactions  do  not  go 
iarther  than  these  movements  of  the  head.  He  will  not 
like  frogs  whose  thalami  are  preserved,  climb  up  a  board 
if  the  latter  be  tilted,  but  will  slide  off  it  to  the  ground 

If  the  cut  be  made  on  another  frog   between  the'tha- 

lami    and    the   optic   lobes,  the  locomotion   both  on  land 

and  water  becomes  quite  normal,  and,  in  addition  to  the 

lexes  already  shown  by  the  lower   centres,  he    croaks 

regularly  whenever  he   is  pinched  under  the  arms      He 

compensates  rotations,  etc.,  by  movements  of  the  head,  and 

irns  over  from   his  back;  but  still   drops  off  his  tilted 

' . 

be  said  that  this  particular  cut  commonlv  proves  fatal      The 
he  rare  cases  which  survive. 


THE  FUNCTIONS  OF  TUB  BRAIN.  17 

board.  As  his  optic  nerves  are  destroyed  by  the  usual 
operation,  it  is  impossible  to  say  whether  he  will  avoid 
obstacles  placed  in  his  path. 

When,  finally,  a  frog's  cerebral  hemispheres  alone  are  cut 
off  by  a  section  between  them  and  the  thalami  which  pre 
serves  the  latter,  an  unpractised  observer  would  not  at  first 
suspect  anything  abnormal  about  the  animal.  Not  only  is 
he  capable,  on  proper  instigation,  of  all  the  acts  already 
described,  but  he  guides  himself  by  sight,  so  that  if  an 
obstacle  be  set  up  between  him  and  the  light,  and  he  be 
forced  to  move  forward,  he  either  jumps  over  it  or  swerves 
to  one  side.  He  manifests  sexual  passion  at  the  proper 
season,  and,  unlike  an  altogether  brainless  frog,  which  em 
braces  anything  placed  between  his  arms,  postpones  this 
reflex  act  until  a  female  of  his  own  species  is  provided. 
Thus  far,  as  aforesaid,  a  person  unfamiliar  with  frogs 
might  not  suspect  a  mutilation ;  but  even  such  a  person 
would  soon  remark  the  almost  entire  absence  of  spontane 
ous  motion — that  is,  motion  unprovoked  by  any  present  in- 
citation  of  sense.  The  continued  movements  of  swimming, 
performed  by  the  creature  in  the  water,  seem  to  be  the 
fatal  result  of  the  contact  of  that  fluid  with  its  skin.  They 
cease  when  a  stick,  for  example,  touches  his  hands.  This 
is  a  sensible  irritant  towards  which  the  feet  are  automatic 
ally  drawn  by  reflex  action,  and  on  which  the  animal  re 
mains  sitting.  He  manifests  no  hunger,  and  will  suffer  a 
fly  to  crawl  over  his  nose  unsnapped  at.  Fear,  too,  seems 
to  have  deserted  him.  In  a  word,  he  is  an  extremely  com 
plex  machine  whose  actions,  so  far  as  they  go,  tend  to 
self-preservation ;  but  still  a  machine,  in  this  sense — that  it 
seems  to  contain  no  incalculable  element.  By  applying 
the  right  sensory  stimulus  to  him  we  are  almost  as  certain 
of  getting  a  fixed  response  as  an  organist  is  of  hearing  a 
certain  tone  when  he  pulls  out  a  certain  stop. 

But  now  if  to  the  lower  centres  we  add  the  cerebral 
hemispheres,  or  if,  in  other  words,  we  make  an  intact  ani 
mal  the  subject  of  our  observations,  all  this  is  changed.  In 
addition  to  the  previous  responses  to  present  incitements 
of  sense,  our  frog  now  goes  through  long  and  complex  acts 
of  locomotion  spontaneously,  or  as  if  moved  by  what  in  our- 


18  PSYCHOLOGY. 

selves  we  should  call  an  idea.  His  reactions  to  outward 
stimuli  vary  their  form,  too.  Instead  of  making  simple 
defensive  movements  with  his  hind  legs  like  a  headless 
frog  if  touched,  or  of  giving  one  or  two  leaps  and  then  sit 
ting  still  like  a  hemisphereless  one,  he  makes  persistent 
and  varied  efforts  at  escape,  as  if,  not  the  mere  contact  of 
the  physiologist's  hand,  but  the  notion  of  danger  suggested 
by  it  were  now  his  spur.  Led  by  the  feeling  of  hunger, 
too,  he  goes  in  search  of  insects,  fish,  or  smaller  frogs,  and 
varies  his  procedure  with  each  species  of  victim.  The 
physiologist  cannot  by  manipulating  him  elicit  croaking, 
crawling  up  a  board,  swimming  or  stopping,  at  will.  His 
conduct  has  become  incalculable.  We  can  no  longer  foretell 
it  exactly.  Effort  to  escape  is  his  dominant  reaction,  but 
he  may  do  anything  else,  even  swell  up  and  become  per 
fectly  passive  in  our  hands. 

Such  are  the  phenomena  commonly  observed,  and  such 
the  impressions  which  one  naturally  receives.  Certain 
general  conclusions  follow  irresistibly.  First  of  all  the 
following : 

The  acts  of  all  the  centres  involve  the  use  of  the  same 
muscles.  When  a  headless  frog's  hind  leg  wipes  the  acid,  he 
calls  into  play  all  the  leg-muscles  which  a  frog  with  his 
full  medulla  oblongata  and  cerebellum  uses  when  he  turns 
from  his  back  to  his  belly.  Their  contractions  are,  how 
ever,  combined  differently  in  the  two  cases,  so  that  the  re 
sults  vary  widely.  We  must  consequently  conclude  that 
specific  arrangements  of  cells  and  fibres  exist  in  the 
cord  for  wiping,  in  the  medulla  for  turning  over,  etc. 
Similarly  they  exist  in  the  thalami  for  jumping  over 
seen  obstacles  and  for  balancing  the  moved  body ;  in  the 
optic  lobes  for  creeping  backwards,  or  what  not.  But  in 
the  hemispheres,  since  the  presence  of  these  organs  brings 
no  new  elementary  form  of  movement  with  it,  but  only  deter 
mines  differently  the  occasions  on  which  the  movements  shall 
occur,  making  the  usual  stimuli  less  fatal  and  machine-like  ; 
we  need  suppose  no  such  machinery  directly  co-ordinative 
of  muscular  contractions  to  exist.  We  may  rather  assume, 
when  the  mandate  for  a  wiping-movement  is  sent  forth  by 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  19 

the  hemispheres,  that  a  current  goes  straight  to  the  wiping- 
arrangernent  in  the  spinal  cord,  exciting  this  arrangement 
as  a  whole.  Similarly,  if  an  intact  frog  wishes  to  jump 
over  a  stone  which  he  sees,  all  he  need  do  is  to  excite  from 
the  hemispheres  the  jumping-centre  in  the  thalami  or 
wherever  it  may  be,  and  the  latter  will  provide  for  the  de 
tails  of  the  execution.  It  is  like  a  general  ordering  a 
colonel  to  make  a  certain  movement,  but  not  telling  him 
how  it  shall  be  done.* 

The  same  muscle,  then,  is  repeatedly  represented  at  different 
heights;  and  at  each  it  enters  into  a  different  combination 
with  other  muscles  to  co-operate  in  some  special  form  of 
concerted  movement.  At  each  height  the  movement  is  dis 
charged  by  some  particular  form  of  sensorial  stimulus.  Thus 
in  the  cord,  the  skin  alone  occasions  movements ;  in  the 
upper  part  of  the  optic  lobes,  the  eyes  are  added ;  in  the 
thalami,  the  semi-circular  canals  would  seem  to  play  a  part ; 
whilst  the  stimuli  which  discharge  the  hemispheres  would 
seem  not  so  much  to  be  elementary  sorts  of  sensation,  as 
groups  ot  sensations  forming  determinate  objects  or  things. 
Prey  is  not  pursued  nor  are  enemies  shunned  by  ordinary 
hemisphereless  frogs.  Those  reactions  upon  complex  cir 
cumstances  which  we  call  instinctive  rather  than  reflex,  are 
already  in  this  animal  dependent  on  the  brain's  highest 
lobes,  and  still  more  is  this  the  case  with  animals  higher 
in  the  zoological  scale. 

The  results  are  just  the  same  if,  instead  of  a  frog,  we 
take  a  pigeon,  and  cut  out  his  hemispheres  as  they  are  ordi 
narily  cut  out  for  a  lecture-room  demonstration.  There  is 
not  a  movement  natural  to  him  which  this  brainless  bird 
cannot  perform  if  expressly  excited  thereto ;  only  the  inner 
promptings  seem  deficient,  and  when  left  to  himself  he 
spends  most  of  his  time  crouched  on  the  ground  with  his 
head  sunk  between  his  shoulders  as  if  asleep. 

*  I  confine  myself  to  the  frog  for  simplicity's  sake.  In  higher  animals, 
especially  the  ape  and  man,  it  would  seem  as  if  not  only  determinate  com 
binations  of  muscles,  but  limited  groups  or  even  single  muscles  could  be 
innervated  from  the  hemispheres. 


20  PSYCHOLOGY. 


GENERAL  NOTION  OF  HEMISPHERES. 

All  these  facts  lead  us,  when  we  think  about  them,  to 
some  such  explanatory  conception  as  this  :  The  lower  centres 
'act  from  present  sensational  stimuli  alone;  the  hemispheres  act 
from  perceptions  and  considerations,  the  sensations  which  they 
may  receive  serving  only  as  suggesters  of  these.  But  what 
are  perceptions  but  sensations  grouped  together  ?  and  what 
are  considerations  but  expectations,  in  the  fancy,  of  sensa 
tions  which  will  be  felt  one  way  or  another  according  as 
action  takes  this  course  or  that  ?  If  I  step  aside  on  seeing 
a  rattlesnake,  from  considering  how  dangerous  an  animal 
he  is,  the  mental  materials  which  constitute  my  prudential 
reflection  are  images  more  or  less  vivid  of  the  movement 
of  his  head,  of  a  sudden  pain  in  my  leg,  of  a  state  of  terror, 
a  swelling  of  the  limb,  a  chill,  delirium,  unconsciousness, 
etc.,  etc.,  and  the  ruin  of  my  hopes.  But  all  these  images 
are  constructed  out  of  my  past  experiences.  They  are  repro 
ductions  of  what  I  have  felt  or  witnessed.  They  are,  in 
short,  remote  sensations ;  and  the  difference  between  the  hemi- 
sphereless  animal  and  the  whole  one  may  be  concisely  ex 
pressed  by  saying  that  the  one  obeys  absent,  the  other  only 
present,  objects. 

The  hemispheres  would  then  seem  to  be  the  seat  of  mem 
ory.  Vestiges  of  past  experience  must  in  some  way  be 
stored  up  in  them,  and  must,  when  aroused  by  present 
stimuli,  first  appear  as  representations  of  distant  goods 
and  evils;  and  then  must  discharge  into  the  appropriate 
motor  channels  for  warding  off  the  evil  and  securing  the 
benefits  of  the  good.  If  we  liken  the  nervous  currents  to 
electric  currents,  we  can  compare  the  nervous  system,  (7, 
below  the  hemispheres  to  a  direct  circuit  from  sense- 
organ  to  muscle  along  the  line  S...C...Moi  Fig.  2  (p.  21). 
The  hemisphere,  H,  adds  the  long  circuit  or  loop-line 
through  which  the  current  may  pass  when  for  any  reason 
the  direct  line  is  not  used. 

Thus,  a  tired  wayfarer  on  a  hot  day  throws  himself  on 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  21 

the  damp  eartli  beneath  a  maple-tree.  The  sensations  of 
delicious  rest  and  coolness  pour 
ing  themselves  through  the  direct 
line  would  naturally  discharge  into 
the  muscles  of  complete  exten 
sion:  he  would  abandon  himself 
to  the  dangerous  repose.  But  the 
loop-line  being  open,  part  of  the 
current  is  drafted  along  it,  and 
awakens  rheumatic  or  catarrlial 
reminiscences,  which  prevail  over 
the  instigations  of  sense,  and  make  FlQ* 

the  man  arise  and  pursue  his  way  to  where  he  may  enjoy  his 
rest  more  safely.  Presently  we  shall  examine  the  manner 
in  which  the  hemispheric  loop-line  may  be  supposed  to 
serve  as  a  reservoir  for  such  reminiscences  as  these.  Mean 
while  I  will  ask  the  reader  to  notice  some  corollaries  of  its 
being  such  a  reservoir. 

First,  no  animal  without  it  can  deliberate,  pause,  post 
pone,  nicely  weigh  one  motive  against  another,  or  compare. 
Prudence,  in  a  word,  is  for  such  a  creature  an  impossible 
virtue.  Accordingly  we  see  that  nature  removes  those  func 
tions  in  the  exercise  of  which  prudence  is  a  virtue  from  the 
lower  centres  and  hands  them  over  to  the  cerebrum.  Wher 
ever  a  creature  has  to  deal  with  complex  features  of  the  en 
vironment,  prudence  is  a  virtue.  The  higheJ  animals  have  so 
to  deal ;  and  the  more  complex  the  features,  the  higher  we 
call  the  animals.  The  fewer  of  his  acts,  i/ien,  can  such  an 
animal  perform  without  the  help  of  the  organs  in  question. 
In  the  frog  many  acts  devolve  wholly  on  the  lower  centres; 
in  the  bird  fewer;  in  the  rodent  fewer  still ;  in  the  dog  very 
few  indeed ;  and  in  apes  and  men  hardly  any  at  all. 

The  advantages  of  this  are  obvious.  Take  the  prehen-- 
sion  of  food  as  an  example  and  suppose  it  to  be  a  reflex 
performance  of  the  lower  centres.  The  animal  will  be  con 
demned  fatally  and  irresistibly  to  snap  at  it  whenever 
presented,  no  matter  what  the  circumstances  may  be ; 
he  can  no  more  disobey  this  prompting  than  water  can 
refuse  to  boil  when  a  fire  is  kindled  under  the  poi  His 
life  will  again  and  again  pay  the  forfeit  of  his  gluttony. 


22  PSyCHOLOGY. 

Exposure  to  retaliation,  to  other  enemies,  to  traps,  to 
poisons,  to  the  dangers  of  repletion,  must  be  regular 
parts  of  his  existence.  His  lack  of  all  thought  by  which  to 
weigh  the  danger  against  the  attractive-ness  of  the  bait,  and 
of  all  volition  to  remain  hungry  a  little  while  longer, 
is  the  direct  measure  of  his  lowness  in  the  mental  scale. 
And  those  fishes  which,  like  our  cunners  and  sculpins, 
are  no  sooner  thrown  back  from  the  hook  into  the  water, 
than  they  automatically  seize  the  hook  again,  would  soon 
expiate  the  degradation  of  their  intelligence  by  the  extinc 
tion  of  their  type,  did  not  their  exaggerated  fecundity  atone 
for  their  imprudence.  Appetite  and  the  acts  it  prompts 
have  consequently  become  in  all  higher  vertebrates  func 
tions  of  the  cerebrum.  They  disappear  when  the  physiol 
ogist's  knife  nas  left  the  subordinate  centres  alone  in  "place. 
The  brainless  pigeon  will  starve  though  left  on  a  corn- 
heap. 

Take  again  the  sexual  function.  In  birds  this  devolves 
exclusively  upon  the  hemispheres.  When  these  are  shorn 
away  the  pigeon  pays  no  attention  to  the  billings  and  coo- 
ings  of  its  mate.  And  Goltz  found  that  a  bitch  in  heat 
would  excite  no  emotion  in  male  dogs  who  had  suffered 
large  loss  of  cerebral  tissue.  Those  who  have  read  Dar 
win's  '  Descent  of  Man'  know  what  immense  importance  in 
the  amelioration  of  the  breed  in  birds  this  author  ascribes 
to  the  mere  fact  of  sexual  selection.  The  sexual  act  is  not 
performed  until  every  condition  of  circumstance  and  senti 
ment  is  fulfilled,  until  time,  place,  and  partner  all  are  fit. 
But  in  frogs  and  toads  this  passion  devolves  on  the  lower 
centres.  They  show  consequently  a  machine-like  obe 
dience  to  the  present  incitement  of  sense,  and  an  almost 
total  exclusion  of  the  power  of  choice.  Copulation  occurs 
per  fas  aut  nefas,  occasionally  between  males,  often  with 
dead  females,  in  puddles  exposed  on  the  highway,  and 
the  male  may  be  cut  in  two  without  letting  go  his  hold. 
Every  spring  an  immense  sacrifice  of  batrachian  life  takes 
place  from  these  causes  alone. 

No  one  need  be  told  how  dependent  all  human  social 
elevation  is  upon  the  prevalence  of  chastity.  Hardly  any 
factor  measures  more  than  this  the  difference  between  civili* 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  23 

zation  and  barbarism.  Physiologically  interpreted,  chastity 
means  nothing  more  than  the  fact  that  present  solicitations 
of  sense  are  overpowered  by  suggestions  of  aesthetic  and 
moral  fitness  which  the  circumstances  awaken  in  the 
cerebrum  ;  and  that  upon  the  inhibitory  or  permissive  in 
fluence  of  these  alone  action  directly  depends. 

Within  the  psychic  life  due  to  the  cerebrum  itself  the 
same  general  distinction  obtains,  between  considerations  of 
the  more  immediate  and  considerations  of  the  more  remote. 
In  all  ages  the  man  whose  determinations  are  swayed  by 
reference  to  the  most  distant  ends  has  been  held  to  possess 
the  highest  intelligence.  The  tramp  who  lives  from  hour 
to  hour ;  the  bohemian  whose  engagements  are  from  day 
to  day ;  the  bachelor  who  builds  but  for  a  single  life ; 
the  father  who  acts  for  another  generation  ;  the  patriot 
who  thinks  of  a  whole  community  and  many  generations ; 
and  finally,  the  philosopher  and  saint  whose  cares  are  for 
humanity  and  for  eternity, — these  range  themselves  in  an 
unbroken  hierarchy,  wherein  each  successive  grade  results 
from  an  increased  manifestation  of  the  special  form  of 
action  by  which  the  cerebral  centres  are  distinguished 
fyorn  all  below  them. 

In  the  '  loop-line '  along  which  the  memories  and  ideas 
of  the  distant  are  supposed  to  lie,  the  action,  so  far  as  it  is 
a  physical  process,  must  be  interpreted  after  the  type  of  the 
action  in  the  lower  centres.  If  regarded  here  as  a  reflex 
process,  it  must  be  reflex  there  as  well.  The  current  in 
both  places  runs  out  into  the  muscles  only  after  it  has  first 
run  in  ;  but  whilst  the  path  by  which  it  runs  out  is  deter 
mined  in  the  lower  centres  by  reflections  few  and  fixed 
amongst  the  cell-arrangements,  in  the  hemispheres  the 
reflections  are  many  and  instable.  This,  it  will  be  seen,  is 
only  a  difference  of  degree  and  not  of  kind,  and  does  not 
change  the  reflex  type.  The  conception  of  all  action  as 
conforming  to  this  type  is  the  fundamental  conception  of 
modern  nerve-physiology.  So  much  for  our  general  pre 
liminary  conception  of  the  nerve-centres  !  Let  us  define  it 
more  distinctly  before  we  see  how  well  physiological  ob 
servation  will  bear  it  out  in  detail. 


24  PSYCHOLOGY. 

THE  EDUCATION  OF  THE  HEMISPHERES. 

Nerve-currents  run  in  through  sense-organs,  and  whilst 
provoking  reflex  acts  in  the  lower  centres,  they  arouse  ideas 
in  the  hemispheres,  which  either  permit  the  reflexes  in 
question,  check  them,  or  substitute  others  for  them.  All 
ideas  being  in  the  last  resort  reminiscences,  the  question  to 
answer  is  :  How  can  processes  become  organized  in  the  hemi 
spheres  ivhich  correspond  to  reminiscences  in  the  mind  ?* 

Nothing  is  easier  than  to  conceive  a  possible  way  in 
which  this  might  be  done,  provided  four  assumptions  be 
granted.  These  assumptions  (which  after  all  are  inevitable 
in  any  event)  are  : 

1)  The   same   cerebral    process   which,  when    aroused 
from  without  by  a  sense-organ,  gives  the  perception  of  an 
object,  will  give  an  idea  of  the  same  object  when  aroused 
by  other  cerebral  processes  from  within. 

2)  If  processes  1,  2,  3,  4  have    once  been  aroused  to 
gether  or  in  immediate  succession,  any  subsequent  arousal 
of  any  one  of  them  (whether  from  without  or  within)  will 
tend  to  arouse  the  others  in  the  original  order.    [This  is  the 
so-called  law  of  association.] 

3)  Every  sensorial  excitement  propagated  to  a  lower 
centre  tends  to  spread  upwards  and  arouse  an  idea. 

4)  Every  idea  tends    ultimately  either    to    produce   a 
movement  or  to  check  one  which  otherwise  would  be  pro 
duced. 

Suppose  now  (these  assumptions  being  granted)  that  we 
have  a  baby  before  us  who  sees  a  candle-flame  for  the  first 

*  I  hope  that  the  reader  will  take  no  umbrage  at  my  so  mixing  the 

\  physical  and  mental,  and  talking  of  reflex  acts  and  hemispheres  and  remi- 

'  niscences  in  the  same  breath,  as  if  they  were  homogeneous  quantities  and 

factors  of  one  causal  chain.     I  have  done  so  deliberately  ;  for  although  I 

admit  that  from  the  radically  physical  point  of  view  it  is  easy  to  conceive 

of  the  chain  of  events  amongst  the  cells  and  fibres  as  complete  in  itself, 

I  and  that  whilst  so  conceiving  it  one  need  make  no  mention  of  •  ideas,' 
I  yet  suspect  that  point  of  view  of  being  an  unreal  abstraction.  Reflexes 
In  centres  may  take  place  even  where  accompanying  feelings  or  ideas  guide 
/  them.  In  another  chapter  I  shall  try  to  show  reasons  for  not  abandoning 
this  common-sense  position  ;  meanwhile  language  lends  itself  so  much 
more  easily  to  the  mixed  way  of  describing,  that  I  will  continue  to  employ 
the  latter.  The  more  radical-minded  reader  can  always  read  '  ideationa] 
orocess'  for  'idea.' 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN. 


FIG.  3. 


time,  and,  by  virtue  of  a  reflex  tendency  common  in  babies 
of  a  certain  age,  extends  his 
hand  to  grasp  it,  so  that  his 
fingers  get  burned.  So  far  we 
have  two  reflex  currents  in 
play  :  first,  from  the  eye  to  the 
extension  movement,  along  the 
line  1—1—1—1  of  Fig.  3  ;  and 
second,  from  the  finger  to  the 
movement  of  drawing  back  the 
hand,  along  the  line  2  —  2  —  2  —  2.  ^ 
If  this  were  the  baby's  whole 
nervous  system,  and  if  the  re 
flexes  were  once  for  all  organic, 
we  should  have  no  alteration  in  his  behavior,  no  matter 
how  often  the  experience  recurred.  The  retinal  image  of 
the  flame  would  always  make  the  arm  shoot  forward,  the 
burning  of  the  finger  would  always  send  it  back.  But  we 
know  that  '  the  burnt  child  dreads  the  fire,'  and  that  one 
experience  usually  protects  the  fingers  forever.  The  point 
is  to  see  how  the  hemispheres  may  bring  this  result  to  pass. 
We  must  complicate  our  diagram  (see  Fig.  4).  Let 
the  current  1  —  1,  from  the  eye,  discharge  upward  as  well  as 
downward  when  it  reaches  the  lower  centre  for  vision,  and 
arouse  the  perceptional  process  sl  in  the  hemispheres  ;  let 

the  feeling  of  the  arm's  exten 
sion  also  send  up  a  current 
which  leaves  a  trace  of  itself, 
in1  ;  let  tli3  burnt  finger  leave 
an  analogous  trace,  sa  ;  and 
let  the  movement  of  retrac 
tion  leave  m2.  These  four 
processes  will  now,  by  virtue 
of  assumption  2),  be  associ 
ated  together  by  the  path 
6-1  —  ra1—  s2  —  m2  ,  running  from 

+l,a  fivc-f  fn  fLa  Incf  GO  -fTmf  if 
tne  first  tO  tlie  last»  SO  ttiat  " 

anything  touches   off  s1,  ideas 
of  the  extension,  of  the  burnt 
finger,  and  of  the   retraction  will  pass  in  rapid  succession 


FIG.  4.—  The  dotted  lines  stand  for  affer- 
ent  paths,  the  broken  lines  for  paths 

for  effe"eutepathtses;  the  entlre  lilies 


26  PSYCHOLOGY. 

through  the  mind.  The  effect  on  the  child's  conduct  when 
the  candle-flame  is  next  presented  is  easy  to  imagine.  Of 
course  the  sight  of  it  arouses  the  grasping  reflex  ;  but  it 
arouses  simultaneously  the  idea  thereof,  together  with  that 
of  the  consequent  pain,  and  of  the  final  retraction  of  the 
hand ;  and  if  these  cerebral  processes  prevail  in  strength 
over  the  immediate  sensation  in  the  centres  below,  the  last 
idea  will  be  the  cue  by  which  the  final  action  is  discharged. 
The  grasping  will  be  arrested  in  mid-career,  the  hand 
drawn  back,  and  the  child's  fingers  saved. 

In  all  this  we  assume  that  the  hemispheres  do  not 
natively  couple  any  particular  sense-impression  with  any 
special  motor  discharge.  They  only  register,  and  preserve 
traces  of,  such  couplings  as  are  already  organized  in  the 
reflex  centres  below.  But  this  brings  it  inevitably  about 
that,  when  a  chain  of  experiences  has  been  already  regis 
tered  and  the  first  link  is  impressed  once  again  from  without, 
the  last  link  will  often  be  awakened  in  idea  long  before  it 
can  exist  in  fact.  And  if  this  last  link  were  previously 
coupled  with  a  motion,  that  motion  may  now  come  from  the 
mere  ideal  suggestion  without  waiting  for  the  actual  impres 
sion  to  arise.  Thus  an  animal  with  hemispheres  acts  in  an 
ticipation  of  future  things ;  or,  to  use  our  previous  formula,  he 
acts  from  considerations  of  distant  good  and  ill.  If  we  give 
the  name  of  partners  to  the  original  couplings  of  impressions 
with  motions  in  a  reflex  way,  then  we  may  say  that  the  func 
tion  of  the  hemispheres  is  simply  to  bring  about  exchanges 
among  the  partners.  Movement  mn ,  which  natively  is  sensa 
tion  sn's  partner,  becomes  through  the  hemispheres  the 
partner  of  sensation  s1 ,  s2  or  s3 .  It  is  like  the  great  corn- 
mutating  switch-board  at  a  central  telephone  station.  No 
new  elementary  process  is  involved  ;  no  impression  nor  any 
motion  peculiar  to  the  hemispheres ;  but  any  number  of 
combinations  impossible  to  the  lower  machinery  taken 
alone,  and  an  endless  consequent  increase  in  the  possibilities 
of  behavior  on  the  creature's  part. 

All  this,  as  a  mere  scheme,*  is  so  clear  and  so  concordant 

*  I  shall  call  it  hereafter  for  shortness  '  the  Meynert  scheme;'  for  the 
child-and-flame  example,  as  well  as  the  whole  general  notion  that  the  hemi 
spheres  are  a  supernumerary  surface  for  the  projection  and  association  o* 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  27 

with  the  general  look  of  the  facts  as  almost  to  impose  itself 
on  our  belief ;  but  it  is  anything  but  clear  in  detail.  The 
brain-physiology  of  late  years  has  with  great  effort  sought 
to  work  out  the  paths  by  which  these  couplings  of  sensa 
tions  with  movements  take  place,  both  in  the  hemispheres 
and  in  the  centres  below. 

So  we  must  next  test  our  scheme  by  the  facts  discovered 
in  this  direction.  We  shall  conclude,  I  think,  after  taking 
them  all  into  account,  that  the  scheme  probably  makes 
the  lower  centres  too  machine-like  and  the  hemispheres 
not  quite  machine-like  enough,  and  must  consequently  be 
softened  down  a  little.  So  much  I  may  say  in  advance. 
Meanwhile,  before  plunging  into  the  details  which  await  us, 
it  will  somewhat  clear  our  ideas  if  we  contrast  the  modern 
way  of  looking  at  the  matter  with  the  phrenological  concep 
tion  which  but  lately  preceded  it. 

THE   PHRENOLOGICAL    CONCEPTION. 

In  a  certain  sense  Gall  was  the  first  to  seek  to  explain 
in  detail  how  the  brain  could  subserve  our  mental  opera 
tions.  His  way  of  proceeding  was  only  too  simple.  He  took 
the  faculty-psychology  as  his  ultimatum  on  the  mental  side, 
and  he  made  no  farther  psychological  analysis.  Wherever 
he  found  an  individual  with  some  strongly-marked  trait 
of  character  he  examined  his  head ;  and  if  he  found  the 
latter  prominent  in  a  certain  region,  he  said  without  more 
ado  that  that  region  was  the  '  organ '  of  the  trait  or 
faculty  in  question.  The  traits  were  of  very  diverse  con 
stitution,  some  being  simple  sensibilities  like  '  weight ' 
or  '  color  ; '  some  being  instinctive  tendencies  like  '  alimen- 
tiveness  '  or  '  amativeness  ; '  and  others,  again,  being  com 
plex  resultants  like  'conscientiousness,'  'individuality.' 
Phrenology  fell  promptly  into  disrepute  among  scientific 
men  because  observation  seemed  to  show  that  large  facul- 

sensations  and  movements  natively  coupled  in  the  centres  below,  is  due  to 
Th.  Meynert,  the  Austrian  anatomist.  For  a  popular  account  of  his  views, 
see  his  pamphlet  '  Zur  Mechanik  des  Gehirnbaues,'  Vienna,  1874.  His 
most  recent  development  of  them  is  embodied  in  his  '  Psychiatry,'  a 
clinical  treatise  on  diseases  of  the  forebruiu,  translated  by  B.  Sachs,  New 
York,  1885. 


28  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ties  and  large  '  bumps  '  might  fail  to  coexist ;  because  the 
scheme  of  Gall  was  so  vast  as  hardly  to  admit  of  accurate 
determination  at  all — who  of  us  can  say  even  of  his  own 
brothers  whether  their  perceptions  of  weight  and  of  time  are 
well  developed  or  not  ? — because  the  followers  of  Gall  and 
Spurzheim  were  unable  to  reform  these  errors  in  any  appre 
ciable  degree ;  and,  finally,  because  the  whole  analysis  of 
faculties  was  vague  and  erroneous  from  a  psychologic  point 
of  view.     Popular  professors  of  the  lore  have  nevertheless 
continued  to  command  the  admiration  of  popular  audiences ; 
and  there  seems  no  doubt  that  Phrenology,  however  little 
it  satisfy  our  scientific  curiosity  about  the  functions  of  dif 
ferent  portions  of  the  brain,  may  still  be,  in  the  hands  of 
intelligent  practitioners,  a  useful  help  in  the  art  of  reading 
character.     A  hooked  nose  and  a  firm  jaw  are  usually  signs 
of  practical  energy  ;  soft,  delicate  hands  are  signs  of  refined 
sensibility.     Even  so  may  a  prominent  eye  be  a  sign  of 
power  over  language,  and  a  bull-neck  a  sign  of  sensuality. 
But  the  brain  behind  the  eye  and  neck  need  no  more  be 
the   organ  of  the   signified   faculty  than  the   jaw  is   the 
organ  of  the  will  or  the  hand    the    organ  of  refinement. 
These  correlations  between  mind  and  body  are,  however,  so 
frequent  that  the  '  characters  '  given  by  phrenologists  are 
often  remarkable  for  knowingness  and  insight. 

Phrenology  hardly  does  more  than  restate  the  problem. 
To  answer  the  question,  "Why  do  I  like  children?"  by 
saying,  "  Because  you  have  a  large  organ  of  philoprogeni- 
tiveness,"  but  renames  the  phenomenon  to  be  explained. 
What  is  my  philoprogenitiveness  ?  Of  what  mental  ele 
ments  does  it  consist  ?  And  how  can  a  part  of  the  brain 
be  its  organ?  A  science  of  the  mind  must  reduce  such 
complex  manifestations  as  '  philoprogenitiveness  '  to  their 
dements.  A  science  of  the  brain  must  point  out  the  func 
tions  of  its  elements.  A  science  cf  the  relations  of  mind 
and  brain  must  show  how  the  elementary  ingredients  of  the 
former  correspond  to  the  elementary  functions  of  the  latter. 
But  phrenology,  except  by  occasional  coincidence,  takes  no 
account  of  elements  at  all.  Its  « faculties,'  as  a  rule,  are 
fully  equipped  persons  in  a  particular  mental  attitude. 
Take,  for  example,  the  '  faculty '  of  language.  It  involves 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  29 

in  reality  a  host  of  distinct  powers.  We  must  first  have 
images  of  concrete  things  and  ideas  of  abstract  qualities 
and  relations ;  we  must  next  have  the  memory  of  words 
and  then  the  capacity  so  to  associate  each  idea  or  image 
with  a  particular  word  that,  when  the  word  is  heard,  the 
idea  shall  forthwith  enter  our  mind.  We  must  conversely, 
as  soon  as  the  idea  arises  in  our  mind,  associate  with  it  a 
mental  image  of  the  word,  and  by  means  of  this  image  we 
must  innervate  our  articulatory  apparatus  so  as  to  repro 
duce  the  word  as  physical  sound.  To  read  or  to  write  a 
language  other  elements  still  must  be  introduced.  But  it 
is  plain  that  the  faculty  of  spoken  language  alone  is  so 
complicated  as  to  call  into  play  almost  all  the  elementary 
powers  which  the  mind  possesses,  memory,  imagination, 
association,  judgment,  and  volition.  A  portion  of  the  brain 
competent  to  be  the  adequate  seat  of  such  a  faculty  would 
needs  be  an  entire  brain  in  miniature, — just  as  the  faculty 
itself  is  really  a  specification  of  the  entire  man,  a  sort  of 
bomunculus. 

Yet  just  such  homunculi  are  for  the  most  part  the 
phrenological  organs.  As  Lange  says  : 

"  "We  have  a  parliament  of  little  men  together,  each  one  of  whom, 
as  happens  also  in  a  real  parliament,  possesses  but  a  single  idea 
which  he  ceaselessly  strives  to  make  prevail " — benevolence,  firmness, 
hope,  and  the  rest.  "Instead  of  one  soul,  phrenology  gives  us  forty, 
each  alone  as  enigmatic  as  the  full  aggregate  psychic  life  can  be.  In 
stead  of  dividing  the  latter  into  effective  elements,  she  divides  it  into 
personal  beings  of  peculiar  character.  .  .  .  '  Herr  Pastor,  sure  there 
be  a  horse  inside,'  called  out  the  peasants  to  X  after  their  spiritual 
shepherd  had  spent  hours  in  explaining  to  them  the  construction  of  the 
locomotive.  With  a  horse  inside  truly  everything  becomes  clear,  even 
though  it  be  a  queer  enough  sort  of  horse— the  horse  itself  calls  for  no 
explanation !  Phrenology  takes  a  start  to  get  beyond  the  point  of  view 
of  the  ghost-like  soul  entity,  but  she  ends  by  populating  the  whole  skull 
with  ghosts  of  the  same  order."  * 

Modern  Science  conceives  of  the  matter  in  a  very  differ 
ent  way.  Brain  and  mind  alike  consist  of  simple  elements, 
sensory  and  motor.  "All nervous  centres,"  says  Dr.  Hugh- 
lings  Jackson,f  "  from  the  lowest  to  the  very  highest  (the 

*Gescnichte  des  Materialismus,  3d  ed.,  n.  p.  345. 
f  West  Riding  Asylum  Reports,  1876,  p.  267. 


30  PSYCHOLOGY. 


substrata  of  consciousness),  are  made  up  of  nothing  else 
than  nervous  arrangements,  representing  impressions  and 
movements.  ...  I  do  not  see  of  what  other  materials 
the  brain  can  be  made."  Meynert  represents  the  matter 
similarly  when  he  calls  the  cortex  of  the  hemispheres  the 
surface  of  projection  for  every  muscle  and  every  sensitive 
point  of  the  body.  The  muscles  and  the  sensitive  points 
are  represented  each  by  a  cortical  point,  and  the  brain  is 
nothing  but  the  sum  of  all  these  cortical  points,  to  which, 
on  the  mental  side,  as  many  ideas  correspond.  Ideas  of 
sensation,  ideas  of  motion  are,  on  the  other  hand,  the  ele 
mentary  factors  out  of  which  the  mind  is  built  up  by  the 
associationists  in  psychology.  There  is  a  complete  parallel 
ism  between  the  two  analyses,  the  same  diagram  of  little 
dots,  circles,  or  triangles  joined  by  lines  symbolizes  equally 
well  the  cerebral  and  mental  processes  :  the  dots  stand  for 
cells  or  ideas,  the  lines  for  fibres  or  associations.  We  shall 
have  later  to  criticise  this  analysis  so  far  as  it  relates  to 
the  mind  ;  but  there  is  no  doubt  that  it  is  a  most  convenient, 
and  has  been  a  most  useful,  hypothesis,  formulating  the 
facts  in  an  extremely  natural  way. 

If,  then,  we  grant  that  motor  and  sensory  ideas  variously 
associated  are  the  materials  of  the  mind,  all  we  need  do  to  get 
a  complete  diagram  of  the  mind's  and  the  brain's  relations 
should  be  to  ascertain  which  sensory  idea  corresponds  to 
which  sensational  surface  of  projection,  and  which  motor 
idea  to  which  muscular  surface  of  projection.  The  associa 
tions  would  then  correspond  to  the  fibrous  connections  be 
tween  the  various  surfaces.  This  distinct  cerebral  localization 
of  the  various  elementary  sorts  of  idea  has  been  treated  as 
a  'postulate'  by  many  physiologists  (e.g.  Munk) ;  and  the 
most  stirring  controversy  in  nerve-physiology  which  the 
present  generation  has  seen  has  been  the  localization- 
question. 

THE  LOCALIZATION  OF  FUNCTIONS  IN  THE 
HEMISPHERES. 

Up  to  1870,  the  opinion  which  prevailed  was  that  which 
the  experiments  of  Flourens  on  pigeons'  brains  had  made 
plausible,  namely,  that  the  different  functions  of  the  hemi- 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BftAIN.  31 

spheres  were  not  locally  separated,  but  carried  on  each  by 
the  aid  of  the  whole  organ.  Hitzig  in  1870  showed,  how 
ever,  that  in  a  dog's  brain  highly  specialized  movements 
could  be  produced  by  electric  irritation  of  determinate 
regions  of  the  cortex ;  and  Ferrier  and  Munk,  half  a  dozen 
years  later,  seemed  to  prove,  either  by  irritations  or  excis 
ions  or  both,  that  there  were  equally  determinate  regions 
connected  with  the  senses  of  sight,  touch,  hearing,  and 
smell.  Munk's  special  sensorial  localizations,  however, 
disagreed  with  Ferrier's ;  and  Goltz,  from  his  extirpation- 
experiments,  came  to  a  conclusion  adverse  to  strict  local 
ization  of  any  kind.  The  controversy  is  not  yet  over.  I 
will  not  pretend  to  say  anything  more  of  it  historically,  but 
give  a  brief  account  of  the  condition  in  which  matters  at 
present  stand. 

The  one  thing  which  is  perfectly  well  established  is  this, 
that  the  '  central '  convolutions,  on  either  side  of  the  fissure  of 
Kolando,  and  (at  least  in  the  monkey)  the  calloso-marginal 
convolution  (which  is  continuous  with  them  on  the  mesial 
surface  where  one  hemisphere  is  applied  against  the  other), 
form  the  region  by  which  all  the  motor  incitations  which 
leave  the  cortex  pass  out,  on  their  way  to  those  executive 
centres  in  the  region  of  the  pons,  medulla,  and  spinal  cord 
from  which  the  muscular  contractions  are  discharged  in 
the  last  resort.  The  existence  of  this  so-called  '  motor 
zone '  is  established  by  the  lines  of  evidence  successively 
given  below  : 

(1)  Cortical  Irritations.  Electrical  currents  oi  small 
intensity  applied  to  the  surface  of  the  said  convolutions  in 
dogs,  monkeys,  and  other  animals,  produce  well-defined 
movements  in  face,  fore-limb,  hind-limb,  tail,  or  trunk, 
according  as  one  point  or  another  of  the  surface  is  irritated. 
These  movements  affect  almost  invariably  the  side  opposite 
to  the  brain  irritations  :  If  the  left  hemisphere  be  excited,  the 
movement  i&  of  the  right  leg,  side  of  face,  etc.  All  the  objec 
tions  at  first  raised  against  the  validity  of  these  experiments 
have  been  overcome.  The  movements  are  certainly  not  due 
to  irritations  of  the  base  of  the  brain  by  the  downward  spread 
of  the  current,  for :  a)  mechanical  irritations  will  produce 
them,  though  less  easily  than  electrical ;  6)  shifting  the 


32  PSYCHOLOGY, 

electrodes  to  a  point  close  by  on  the  surface  changes  the 
movement  in  ways  quite  inexplicable  by  changed  physical 
conduction  of  the  current ;  c)  if  the  cortical  '  centre'  for  a 
certain  movement  be  cut  under  with  a  sharp  knife  but  left 
in  situ,  although  the  electric  conductivity  is  physically 
unaltered  by  the  operation,  the  physiological  conductivity 
is  gone  and  currents  of  the  same  strength  no  longer  pro 
duce  the  movements  which  they  did ;  d)  the  time-interval 
between  the  application  of  the  electric  stimulus  to  the  cor 
tex  and  the  resultant  movement  is  what  it  would  be  if  the 
cortex  acted  physiologically  and  not  merely  physically  in 
transmitting  the  irritation.  It  is  namely  a  well-known  fact 
that  when  a  nerve-current  has  to  pass  through  the  spinal 
cord  to  excite  a  muscle  by  reflex  action,  the  time  is  longer 
than  if  it  passes  directly  down  the  motor  nerve :  the  cells 
of  the  cord  take  a  certain  time  to  discharge.  Similarly, 
when  a  stimulus  is  applied  directly  to  the  cortex  the  muscle 
contracts  two  or  three  hundredths  of  a  second  later  than  it 
does  when  the  place  on  the  cortex  is  cut  away  and  the  elec 
trodes  are  applied  to  the  white  fibres  below.* 

(2)  Cortical  Ablations.  "When  the  cortical  spot  which  is 
found  to  produce  a  movement  of  the  fore-leg,  in  a  dog, 
is  excised  (see  spot  5  in  Fig.  5),  the  leg  in  question  becomes 
peculiarly  affected.  At  first  it  seems  paralyzed.  Soon,  how 
ever,  it  is  used  with  the  other  legs,  but  badly.  The  animal 
does  not  bear  his  weight  on  it,  allows  it  to  rest  on  its  dorsal 
surface,  stands  with  it  crossing  the  other  leg,  does  not  remove 
it  if  it  hangs  over  the  edge  of  a  table,  can  no  longer « give  the 
paw'  at  word  of  command  if  able  to  do  so  before  the  opera 
tion,  does  not  use  it  for  scratching  the  ground,  or  holding  a 
bone  as  formerly,  lets  it  slip  out  when  running  on  a  smooth 

*  For  a  thorough  discussion  of  the  various  objections,  see  Ferrier's 
'Functions  of  the  Brain,'  2d  ed.,  pp.  227-234,  and  Fra^ois-Franck's 
'  Le9ons  sur  les  Fonctions  Motrices  du  Cerveau  '  (1887),  Le?on  31.  The  most 
minutely  accurate  experiments  on  irritation  of  cortical  points  are  those 
of  Paneth,  in  Pfliiger's  Archiv,  vol  37,  p.  528.— Recently  the  skull  has  been 
fearlessly  opened  by  surgeons,  and  operations  upon  the  human  brain  per 
formed,  sometimes  with  the  happiest  results.  In  some  of  these  operations 
the  cortex  has  been  electrically  excited  for  the  purpose  of  more  exactly 
localizing  the  spot,  and  the  movements  first  observed  in  dogs  and  monkeys 
have  then  been  verified  in  men. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  33 

surface  or  when  shaking  himself,  etc.,  etc.  Sensibility  of 
all  kinds  seems  diminished  as  well  as  motility,  but  of  this  I 
shall  speak  later  on.  Moreover  the  dog  tends  in  voluntary 
movements  to  swerve  towards  the  side  of  the  brain-lesion  in 
stead  of  going  straight  forward.  All  these  symptoms  gradu 
ally  decrease,  so  that  even  with  a  very  severe  brain-lesion 
the  dog  may  be  outwardly  indistinguishable  from  a  well  dog 
after  eight  or  ten  weeks.  Still,  a  slight  chloroformization 
will  reproduce  the  disturbances,  even  then.  There  is  a  cer 
tain  appearance  of  ataxic  in-coordination  in  the  movements 
— the  dog  lifts  his  fore-feet  high  and  brings  them  down  with 
more  strength  than  usual,  and  yet  the  trouble  is  not  ordi- 


FIG.  5.— Left  Hemisphere  of  Dog's  Brain,  after  Ferrier.  A,  the  fissure  of  Sylvius.  B, 
the  crucial  sulcus.  O,  the  olfactory  bulb.  J,  II,  III,  IV,  indicate  the  first,  second, 
third,  and  fourth  external  convolutions  respectively.  (1),  (4),  and  (5)  are  on  the 
sigmoid  gyrus. 

nary  lack  of  co-ordination.  Neither  is  there  paralysis. 
The  strength  of  whatever  movements  are  made  is  as  great 
as  ever — dogs  with  extensive  destruction  of  the  motor  zone 
can  jump  as  high  and  bite  as  hard  as  ever  they  did,  but 
they  seem  less  easily  moved  to  do  anything  with  the  affected 
parts.  Dr0  Loeb,  who  has  studied  the  motor  disturbances 
of  dogs  more  carefully  than  any  one,  conceives  of  them  en 
masse  as  effects  of  an  increased  inertia  in  all  the  processes 
of  innervation  towards  the  side  opposed  to  the  lesion.  All 
such  movements  require  an  unwonted  effort  for  their  exe 
cution  ;  and  when  only  the  normally  usual  effort  is  made 
they  fall  behind  in  effectiveness.* 

*  J.  Loeb  :  '  Beitriige  zur  Physiologic  des  Grosshirns;;   Pflliger's  Ar- 
chiv,  xxxix.  293.     I  simplify  the  author's  statement. 


34 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


Even  when  the  entire  motor  zone  of  a  dog  is  removed, 
there  is  no  permanent  paralysis  of  any  part,  but  only  this 
curious  sort  of  relative  inertia  when  the  two  sides  of  the 
body  are  compared ;  and  this  itself  becomes  hardly  notice 
able  after  a  number  of  weeks  have  elapsed.  Prof.  Goltz 
has  described  a  dog  whose  entire  left  hemisphere  was  de 
stroyed,  and  who  retained  only  a  slight  motor  inertia  on  the 
right  half  of  the  body.  In  particular  he  could  use  his  right 


FIG.  6.— Left  Hemisphere  of  Monkey's  Brain.    Outer  Surface. 

paw  for  holding  a  bone  whilst  gnawing  it,  or  for  reaching 
after  a  piece  of  meat.  Had  he  been  taught  to  give  his  paw 
before  the  operations,  it  would  have  been  curious  to  see 
whether  that  faculty  also  came  back.  His  tactile  sensi 
bility  was  permanently  diminished  on  the  right  side.*  In 
monkeys  a  genuine  paralysis  follows  upon  ablations  of  the 
cortex  in  the  motor  region.  This  paralysis  affects  parts  of 
the  body  which  vary  with  the  brain-parts  removed.  The 
monkey's  opposite  arm  or  leg  hangs  flaccid,  or  at  most  takes  a 
small  part  in  associated  movements.  When  the  entire  region 
is  removed  there  is  a  genuine  and  permanent  hemiplegia 
in  which  the  arm  is  more  affected  than  the  leg;  and  this  is 

*  Goltz  :  PflUger's  Arcbiv,  XLII.  419. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  35 

followed  months  later  by  contracture  of  the  muscles,  as  in 
man  after  inveterate  hemiplegia.*  According  to  Schaefer 
and  Horsley,  the  trunk-muscles  also  become  paralyzed  after 
destruction  of  the  marginal  convolution  on  both  sides  (see 
Fig.  7).  These  differences  between  dogs  and  monkeys  show 
the  danger  of  drawing  general  conclusions  from  experiments 
done  on  any  one  sort  of  animal.  I  subjoin  the  figures  given 
by  the  last-named  authors  of  the  motor  regions  in  the 
monkey's  brain,  f 


FIG.  7.— Left  Hemisphere  of  Monkey's  Brain.    Mesial  Surface. 


In  man  we  are  necessarily  reduced  to  the  observation 
post-mortem  of  cortical  ablations  produced  by  accident  or 
disease  (tumor,  hemorrhage,  softening,  etc.).  What  results 
during  life  from  such  conditions  is  either  localized  spasm, 
or  palsy  of  certain  muscles  of  the  opposite  side.  The  cor 
tical  regions  which  invariably  produce  these  results  are 
homologous  with  those  which  we  have  just  been  study 
ing  in  the  dog,  cat,  a~e,  etc.  Figs.  8  and  9  show  the  result  of 

*  '  Hemiplegia '  means  one-sided  palsy. 

^  f  Philosophical  Transactions,  vol.  179,  pp.  6.  10  (1888).  In  a  later  paper 
(HM.  p.  205)  Messrs.  Beevor  and  Horsley  go  into  the  localization  still  more 
minutely,  showing  spots  from  which  single  muscles  or  single  digits  can  be 
made  to  contract. 


36 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


169  cases  carefully  studied  by  Exner.     The  parts  shaded 
are  regions  where  lesions  produced  no  motor  disturbance. 


FIG.  8.— Right  Hemisphere  of  Human  Brain.    Lateral  Surface. 

Those  left  white  were,  on  the  contrary,  never  injured  with 
out  motor  disturbances  of  some  sort.     Where  the  injury  to 


FIG.  9.— Right  Hemisphere  of  Human  Brain.    Mesial  Surface. 


the  cortical  substance  is  profound  in  man,  the  paralysis  is 
permanent  and  is  succeeded  by  muscular  rigidity  in  the 
paralyzed  parts,  just  as  it  may  be  in  the  monkey. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  37 

(3)  Descending  degenerations  show  the  intimate  connec 
tion  of  the  rolandic  regions  of  the  cortex  with  the  motor 
tracts  of  the  cord.    When,  either  in  man  or  in  the  lower  ani 
mals,  these  regions  are  destroyed,  a  peculiar  degenerative 
change  known  as  secondary  sclerosis  is  found  to  extend 
downwards    through    the   white    fibrous    substance   of  the 
brain  in  a  perfectly  definite  manner,  affecting  certain   dis 
tinct  strands  which  pass  through  the  inner  capsule,  crura, 
and  pons,  into  the  anterior  pyramids  of  the  medulla  oblon- 
gata,  and  from  thence  (partly  crossing  to  the  other  side) 
downwards  into  the  anterior  (direct)  and  lateral  (crossed) 
columns  of  the  spinal  cord. 

(4)  Anatomical  proof  of  the   continuity  of  the  rolandic 
regions  with  these  motor  columns  of  the  cord  is  also  clearly 
given.      Flechsig's    '  Pyramidenbalm '    forms   an    uninter 
rupted    strand    (distinctly    traceable   in   human    embryos, 
before   its   fibres    have    acquired   their   white    'medullary 
sheath')  passing  upwards  from  the  pyramids  of  the  me 
dulla,  and  traversing  the  internal  capsule  and  corona  radi- 
ata  to  the  convolutions  in  question  (Fig.  10).     None  of  the 
inferior  gray  matter  of  the  brain  seems  to  have  any  connec 
tion  with  this  important  fibrous  strand.     It  passes  directly 
from  the  cortex  to  the  motor  arrangements  in  the  cord,  de 
pending  for  its  proper  nutrition  (as  the  facts  of  degenera 
tion  show)  on  the  influence  of  the  cortical  cells,  just  as  motor 
nerves  depend  for  their  nutrition  on  that  of  the  cells  of  the 
spinal  cord.     Electrical  stimulation  of  this  motor  strand  in 
any  accessible  part  of  its  course  has  been  nhown  in  dogs  to 
produce  movements  analogous  to  those  which  excitement 
of  the  cortical  surface  calls  forth. 

One  of  the  most  instructive  proofs  of  motor  localization 
in  the  cortex  is  that  furnished  by  the  disease  now  called 
aphemia,  or  motor  Aphasia.  Motor  aphasia  is  neither  loss 
of  voice  nor  paralysis  of  the  tongue  or  lips.  The  patient's 
voice  is  as  strong  as  ever,  and  all  the  innervations  of  his 
hypoglossal  and  facial  nerves,  except  those  necessary  for 
speaking,  may  go  on  perfectly  well.  He  can  laugh  and  cry, 
and  even  sing  ;  but  he  either  is  unable  to  utter  any  words  at 
all ;  or  a  few  meaningless  stock  phrases  form  his  only  speech  ; 
or  else  he  speaks  incoherently  and  confusedly,  mispronounc- 


38 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


ing,  misplacing,  and  misusing  his  words  in  various  degrees. 
Sometimes  his  speech  is  a  mere  broth  of  unintelligible  syl 
lables.  In  cases  of  pure  motor  aphasia  the  patient  recog- 

Cort/ca/ 


•M  spinal  __J>. 

FIG.  lO.-Sehematic  Transverse  Section  of  Brain  showing  Motor  Strand  -After 

-Ldinger. 

nizes  his  mistakes  and  suffers  acutely  from  them.  Now 
whenever  a  patient  dies  in  such  a  condition  as  this,  and 
an  examination  of  his  brain  is  permitted,  it  is  found  that 


FUNCTIONS   OF  THE  BRAIN. 


39 


the  lowest  frontal  gyrus  (see  Fig.  11)  is  the  seat  of  injury. 
Broca  first  noticed  this  fact  in  1861,  and  since  then  the 
gyrus  has  gone  by  the  name  of  Broca's  convolution.  The 


Fio.  11.— Schematic  Profile 
destru 


jhematic  Profile   of   T,eft  Hemisphere,  with  the  parts  shaded  whose 
ction  causes  motor  ('  Broca  ')  and  sensory  ('  Weruicke  ')  Aphasia. 

injury  in  right-handed  people  is  found  on  the  left  hemi 
sphere,  and  in  left-handed  people  on  the  right  hemisphere. 
Most  people,  in  fact,  are  left-brained,  that  is,  all  then 
delicate  and  specialized  movements  are  handed  over  to 
the  charge  of  the  left  hemisphere.  The  ordinary  right- 
handedness  for  such  movements  is  only  a  consequence  of 
that  fact,  a  consequence  which  shows  outwardly  on  account 
of  that  extensive  decussation  of  the  fibres  whereby  most  of 
those  from  the  left  hemisphere  pass  to  the  right  half  of  the 
body  only.  But  the  left-brainedness  might  exist  in  equal 
measure  and  not  show  outwardly.  This  would  happen 
wherever  organs  on  both  sides  of  the  body  could  be  gov 
erned  by  the  left  hemisphere  ;  and  just  such  a  case  seems 
offered  by  the  vocal  organs,  in  that  highly  delicate  and 
special  motor  service  which  we  call  speech.  Either  hemi 
sphere  can  innervate  them  bilaterally,  just  as  either  seems 
able  to  innervate  bilaterally  the  muscles  of  the  trunk,  ribs, 
and  diaphragm.  Of  the  special  movements  of  speech,  how- 


40  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ever,  it  would  appear  (from  the  facts  of  aphasia)  that  the 
left  hemisphere  in  most  persons  habitually  takes  exclusive 
charge.  With  that  hemisphere  thrown  out  of  gear,  speech  is 
undone  ;  even  though  the  opposite  hemisphere  still  be  there 
for  the  performance  of  less  specialized  acts,  such  as  the 
various  movements  required  in  eating. 

It  will  be  noticed  that  Broca's  region  is  homologous 
with  the  parts  ascertained  to  produce  movements  of  the 
lips,  tongue,  and  larynx  when  excited  by  electric  currents 
in  apes  (cf.  Fig.  6,  p.  34).  The  evidence  is  therefore  as  com 
plete  as  it  well  can  be  that  the  motor  incitations  to  these 
organs  leave  the  brain  by  the  lower  frontal  region. 

Yictims  of  motor  aphasia  generally  have  other  disorders. 
One  which  interests  us  in  this  connection  has  been  called 
agraphia:  they  have  lost  the  power  to  ivrite.  They  can 
read  writing  and  understand  it ;  but  either  cannot  use  the 
pen  at  all  or  make  egregious  mistakes  with  it.  The  seat 
of  the  lesion  here  is  less  well  determined,  owing  to  an  in 
sufficient  number  of  good  cases  to  conclude  from.*  There 
is  no  doubt,  however,  that  it  is  (in  right-handed  people)  on 
the  left  side,  and  little  doubt  that  it  consists  of  elements 
of  the  hand-and-arm  region  specialized  for  that  service. 
The  symptom  may  exist  when  there  is  little  or  no  disability 
in  the  hand  for  other  uses.  If  it  does  not  get  well,  the 
patient  usually  educates  his  right  hemisphere,  i.e.  learns 
to  write  with  his  left  hand.  In  other  cases  of  which  we 
shall  say  more  a  few  pages  later  on,  the  patient  can  write 
both  spontaneously  and  at  dictation,  but  cannot  read  even 
what  he  has  himself  written !  All  these  phenomena  are 
now  quite  clearly  explained  by  separate  brain-centres  for 
the  various  feelings  and  movements  and  tracts  for  associate 
ing  these  together.  But  their  minute  discussion  belongs  to 
medicine  rather  than  to  general  psychology,  and  I  can  only 
use  them  here  to  illustrate  the  principles  of  motor  locali 
zation,  f  Under  the  heads  of  sight  and  hearing  I  shall 
have  a  little  more  to  say. 

*  Nothuagel  und  Naunyn  ;  Die  Localization  in  den  Geliirnkrankheiten 
(Wiesbaden,  1887),  p.  34. 

f  An  accessible  account  of  the  history  of  our  knowledge  of  motor 
aphasia  is  in  W.  A.  Hammond's  '  Treatise  on  the  Diseases  .of  the  Nervous 
System,'  chapter  vn. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  41 

The  different  lines  of  proof  which  I  have  taken  up 
establish  conclusively  the  proposition  that  all  the  motor 
impulses  which  leave  the  cortex  pass  out,  in  healthy  animals, 
from  the  convolutions  about  the  fissure  of  Rolando. 

When,  however,  it  comes  to  denning  precisely  what  is 
involved  in  a  motor  impulse  leaving  the  cortex,  things  grow 
more  obscure.  Does  the  impulse  start  independently  from 
the  convolutions  in  question,  or  does  it  start  elsewhere  and 
merely  flow  through  ?  And  to  what  particular  phase  of 
psychic  activity  does  the  activity  of  these  centres  corre 
spond  '?  Opinions  and  authorities  here  divide  ;  but  it  will 
be  better,  before  entering  into  these  deeper  aspects  of  the 
problem,  to  cast  a  glance  at  the  facts  which  have  been 
made  out  concerning  the  relations  of  the  cortex  to  sight, 
hearing,  and  smell. 

Sight. 

Ferrier  was  the  first  in  the  field  here.  He  found,  when 
the  angular  convolution  (that  lying  between  the  '  intra 
parietal '  and  *  external  occipital '  fissures,  and  bending 
round  the  top  of  the  fissure  of  Sylvius,  in  Fig.  6)  was  ex 
cited  in  the  monkey,  that  movements  of  the  eyes  and  head 
as  if  for  vision  occurred ;  and  that  when  it  was  extirpated, 
what  he  supposed  to  be  total  and  permanent  blindness 
of  the  opposite  eye  followed.  Munk  almost  immediately 
declared  total  and  permanent  blindness  to  follow  from  de 
struction  of  the  occipital  lobe  in  monkeys  as  well  as  dogs,  and 
said  that  the  angular  gyrus  had  nothing  to  do  with  sight, 
but  was  only  the  centre  for  tactile  sensibility  of  the  eyeball. 
Munk's  absolute  tone  about  his  observations  and  his  theo 
retic  arrogance  have  led  to  his  ruin  as  an  authority.  But  he 
did  two  things  of  permanent  value.  He  was  the  first  to 
distinguish  in  these  vivisections  between  sensorial  and 
psychic  blindness,  and  to  describe  the  phenomenon  of  resti 
tution  of  the  visual  function  after  its  first  impairment  by 
an  operation  ;  and  the  first  to  notice  the  hemiopic  character 
of  the  visual  disturbances  which  result  when  only  one 
hemisphere  is  injured.  Sensorial  blindness  is  absolute 
insensibility  to  light ;  psychic  blindness  is  inability  to  rec 
ognize  the  meaning  of  the  optical  impressions,  as  when  we 


42  PSYCHOLOGY. 

see  a  page  of  Chinese  print  but  it  suggests  nothing  to  us. 
A  hemiopic  disturbance  of  vision  is  one  in  which  neither 
retina  is  affected  in  its  totality,  but  in  which,  for  example, 
the  left  portion  of  each  retina  is  blind,  so  that  the  animal 
sees  nothing  situated  in  space  towards  its  right.  Later 
observations  have  corroborated  this  hemiopic  character  of 
all  the  disturbances  of  sight  from  injury  to  a  single  hemi 
sphere  in  the  higher  animals ;  and  the  question  whether 
an  animal's  apparent  blindness  is  sensorial  or  only  psychic 
has,  since  Munk's  first  publications,  been  the  most  urgent 
one  to  answer,  in  all  observations  relative  to  the  function  of 
sight. 

Goltz  almost  simultaneously  with  Ferrier  and  Munk 
reported  experiments  which  led  him  to  deny  that  the 
visual  function  was  essentially  bound  up  with  any  one 
localized  portion  of  the  hemispheres.  Other  divergent 
results  soon  came  in  from  many  quarters,  so  that,  without 
going  into  the  history  of  the  matter  any  more,  I  may  report 
the  existing  state  of  the  case  as  follows :  * 

In  fishes,  frogs,  and  lizards  vision  persists  when  the 
hemispheres  are  entirely  removed.  This  is  admitted  for 
frogs  and  fishes  even  by  Munk,  who  denies  it  for  birds. 

All  of  Munk's  birds  seemed  totally  blind  (blind  senso- 
rially)  after  removal  of  the  hemispheres  by  his  operation. 
The  following  of  a  candle  by  the  head  and  winking  at  a 
threatened  blow,  which  are  ordinarily  held  to  prove  the 
retention  of  crude  optical  sensations  by  the  lower  centres 
in  supposed  hemisphereless  pigeons,  are  by  Munk  ascribed 
to  vestiges  of  the  visual  sphere  of  the  cortex  left  behind 
by  the  imperfection  of  the  operation.  But  Schrader,  who 
operated  after  Munk  and  with  every  apparent  guarantee  of 
completeness,  found  that  all  his  pigeons  saw  after  two 
or  three  weeks  had  elapsed,  and  the  inhibitions  resulting 
from  the  wound  had  passed  away.  They  invariably  avoided 
even  the  slightest  obstacles,  flew  very  regularly  towards 
certain  perches,  etc.,  differing  toto  ccelo  in  these  respects 
with  certain  simply  blinded  pigeons  who  were  kept  with 

*  The  history  up  to  1885  may  be  found  in  A.  Christian! :  Zur  Physi 
ologie  des  Gehirnes  'Berlin.  18sT>\. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  43 

them  for  comparison.  They  did  not  pick  up  food  strewn 
on  the  ground,  however.  Schrader  found  that  they  would 
do  this  if  even  a  small  part  of  the  frontal  region  of  the 
hemispheres  was  left,  and  ascribes  their  non-self-feeding 
when  deprived  of  their  occipital  cerebrum  not  to  a  visual, 
but  to  a  motor,  defect,  a  sort  of  alimentary  aphasia.* 

In  presence  of  such  discord  as  that  between  Munk  and 
his  opponents  one  must  carefully  note  how  differently  sig 
nificant  is  loss,  from  preservation,  of  a  function  after  an  opera 
tion  on  the  brain.  The  loss  of  the  function  does  not  neces 
sarily  show  that  it  is  dependent  on  the  part  cut  out ;  but  its 
preservation  does  show  that  it  is  not  dependent :  and  this  is 
true  though  the  loss  should  be  observed  ninety-nine  times 
and  the  preservation  only  once  in  a  hundred  similar  excisions. 
That  birds  and  mammals  can  be  blinded  by  cortical  abla 
tion  is  undoubted  ;  the  only  question  is,  must  they  be  so  ? 
Only  then  can  the  cortex  be  certainly  called  the  *  seat  of 
sight.'  The  blindness  may  always  be  due  to  one  of  those 
remote  effects  of  the  wound  on  distant  parts,  inhibitions, 
extensions  of  inflammation, — interferences,  in  a  word, — 
upon  which  Brown-Sequard  and  Goltz  have  rightly  insisted, 
and  the  importance  of  which  becomes  more  manifest  every 
day.  Such  effects  are  transient ;  whereas  the  symptoms  of 
deprivation  (Ausfallserscheinungen,  as  Goltz  calls  them)  which 
come  from  the  actual  loss  of  the  cut-out  region  must  from 
the  nature  of  the  case  be  permanent.  Blindness  in  the 
pigeons,  so  far  as  it  passes  away,  cannot  possibly  be  charged 
to  their  seat  of  vision  being  lost,  but  only  to  some  influence 
which  temporarily  depresses  the  activity  of  that  seat. 
The  same  is  true  mutatis  mutandis  of  all  the  other  effects  of 
operations,  and  as  we  pass  to  mammals  we  shall  see  still 
more  the  importance  of  the  remark. 

In  rabbits  loss  of  the  entire  cortex  seems  compatible 
with  the  preservation  of  enough  sight  to  guide  the  poor 
animals'  movements,  and  enable  them  to  avoid  obstacles. 
Christian!' s  observations  and  discussions  seem  conclusively 

*  Pfl  tiger's  Archiv,  vol.  44,  p.  176.  Munk  (Berlin  Academy  Sitzsungs- 
berichte,  1889,  xxxi)  returns  to  the  charge,  denying  the  extirpations  of 
Schrader  to  be  complete  :  ' '  Microscopic  portions  of  the  SelispMre  must 


44  PSYCHOLOGY. 

to  have  established  this,  although  Munk  found  that  all  his 
animals  were  made  totally  blind.* 

In  dogs  also  Munk  found  absolute  stone-blindness  after 
ablation  of  the  occipital  lobes.  He  went  farther  and 
mapped  out  determinate  portions  of  the  cortex  thereupon, 
which  he  considered  correlated  with  definite  segments  of  the 
two  retinae,  so  that  destruction  of  given  portions  of  the  cor 
tex  produces  blindness  of  the  retinal  centre,  top,  bottom, 
or  right  or  left  side,  of  the  same  or  opposite  eye.  There 
seems  little  doubt  that  this  definite  correlation  is  mythologi 
cal.  Other  observers,  Hitzig,  Goltz,  Luciani,  Loeb,  Exner, 
etc.,  find,  whatever  part  of  the  cortex  may  be  ablated  on 
one  side,  that  there  usually  results  a  hemiopic  disturbance 
of  loth  eyes,  slight  and  transient  when  the  anterior  lobes 
are  the  parts  attacked,  grave  when  an  occipital  lobe  is  the 
seat  of  injury,  and  lasting  in  proportion  to  the  latter's 
extent.  According  to  Loeb,  the  defect  is  a  dimness  of  vis 
ion  ('  hemiamblyopia')  in  which  (however  severe)  the  centres 
remain  the  best  seeing  portions  of  the  retina,  just  as  they 
are  in  normal  dogs.  The  lateral  or  temporal  part  of  each 
retina  seems  to  be  in  exclusive  connection  with  the  cortex 
of  its  own  side.  The  centre  and  nasal  part  of  each  seems, 
on  the  contrary,  to  be  connected  with  the  cortex  of  the 
opposite  hemispheres.  Loeb,  who  takes  broader  views 
than  any  one,  conceives  the  hemiamblyopia  as  he  con 
ceives  the  motor  disturbances,  namely,  as  the  expression 
of  an  increased  inertia  in  the  whole  optical  machinery,  of 
which  the  result  is  to  make  the  animal  respond  with  greater 
effort  to  impressions  coming  from  the  half  of  space  opposed 
to  the  side  of  the  lesion.  If  a  dog  has  right  hemiamblyopia, 
say,  and  two  pieces  of  meat  are  hung  before  him  at  once, 
he  invariably  turns  first  to  the  one  on  his  left.  But  if  the 
lesion  be  a  slight  one,  shaking  slightly  the  piece  of  meat 
on  his  right  (this  makes  of  it  a  stronger  stimulus)  makes  him 
seize  upon  it  first.  If  only  one  piece  of  meat  be  offered,  he 
takes  it,  on  whichever  side  it  be. 

When  both  occipital  lobes  are  extensively  destroyed 
total  blindness  may  result.  Munk  maps  out  his  '  Seh- 

*  A.  Christian!:  Zur  Physiol.  d.  Gehirnes  (Berlin,  1885), chaps,  n,  in,  iv. 
H.  Munk  :  Berlin  Akad.  Stzgsb.  1884,  xxiv. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN. 


45 


sphare '  definitely,  and  says  that  blindness  must  result 
when  the  entire  shaded  part,  marked  A,  A,  in  Figs.  12 
and  13,  is  involved  in  the  lesion.  Discrepant  reports 
of  other  observations  he  explains  as  due  to  incomplete 


FIG.  12.  FIG.  13. 

The  Dog's  visual  centre  according  to  Munk,  the  entire  striated  region,  A,  A,  being  the 
exclusive  seat  of  vision,  and  the  dark  central  circle,  A',  being  correlated  with  the 
retinal  centre  of  the  opposite  eye. 

ablation.  Luciani,  Goltz,  and  Lannegrace,  however,  con 
tend  that  they  have  made  complete  bilateral  extirpations 
of  Munk's  Sehsphare  more  than  once,  and  found  a  sort 
of  crude  indiscriminating  sight  of  objects  to  return  in  a 
few  Aveeks.*  The  question  whether  a  dog  is  blind  or  not 
is  harder  to  solve  than  would  at  first  appear ;  for  simply 
blinded  dogs,  in  places  to  which  they  are  accustomed,  show 
little  of  their  loss  and  avoid  all  obstacles;  whilst  dogs 
whose  occipital  lobes  are  gone  may  run  against  things  fre 
quently  and  yet  see  notwithstanding.  The  best  proof  that 
they  may  see  is  that  which  Goltz's  dogs  furnished :  they 
carefully  avoided,  as  it  seemed,  strips  of  sunshine  or  paper 
on  the  floor,  as  if  they  were  solid  obstacles.  This  no  really 
blind  dog  would  do.  Luciani  tested  his  dogs  when  hungry 
(a  condition  which  sharpens  their  attention)  by  strewing 

*  Luciani  und  Scppili :  Die  Functions-Localization  auf  dev  Grosshirn- 
rinde  (Deutsch  von  Fraeukel),  Leipzig,  1886,  Dogs  M,  N,  and  S.  Goltz  in 
Pfluger's  Archiv,  vol.  84,  pp.  490-6;  vol.  42,  p.  454.  Cf.  also  Munk:  Berlin 
Akad.  Stzgsb.  1886,  vii,  vm,  pp.  113-121,  and  Loeb:  Pfluger's  Archiv, 
vol.  39,  p.  337. 


46 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


pieces  of  meat  and  pieces  of  cork  before  them.  If  they 
went  straight  at  them,  they  saw;  and  if  they  chose  the  meat 
and  left  the  cork,  they  saw  discriminatingly.  The  quarrel 
is  very  acrimonious ;  indeed  the  subject  of  localization  of 
functions  in  the  brain  seems  to  have  a  peculiar  effect  on  the 
temper  of  those  who  cultivate  it  experimentally.  The 
amount  of  preserved  vision  which  Goltz  and  Luciani  report 
seems  hardly  to  be  worth  considering,  on  the  one  hand; 
and  on  the  other,  Munk  admits  in  his  penultimate  paper 
that  out  of  85  dogs  he  only  '  succeeded '  4  times  in  his  opera 
tion  of  producing  complete  blindness  by  complete  extirpa 
tion  of  his  '-Sehsphare.'  *  The  safe  conclusion  for  us  is  that 
Luciani's  diagram,  Fig.  14,  represents  something  like  the 


FIG.  14.— Distribution  of  the  Visual  Function  in  the  Cortex,  according  to  Luciani. 

truth.  The  occipital  lobes  are  far  more  important  for 
vision  than  any  other  part  of  the  cortex,  so  that  their  com 
plete  destruction  makes  the  animal  almost  blind.  As  for 
the  crude  sensibility  to  light  which  may  then  remain,  noth 
ing  exact  is  known  either  about  its  nature  or  its  seat. 

In  the  monkey,  doctors  also  disagree.  The  truth  seems, 
however,  to  be  that  the  occipital  lobes  in  this  animal  also  are 
the  part  connected  most  intimately  with  the  visual  function. 
The  function  would  seem  to  go  on  when  very  small  portions 
of  them  are  left,  for  Ferrier  found  no  '  appreciable  impair 
ment  '  of  it  after  almost  complete  destruction  of  them  on  both 
sides.  On  the  other  hand,  he  found  complete  and  perma 
nent  blindness  to  ensue  when  they  and  the  angular  gyri  in 
addition  were  destroyed  on  both  sides.  Munk,  as  well  as 

*  Berlin  Akad.  Sitzungsberichte,  1886,  vii,  vm,  p.  124. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  47 

Brown  and  Schaefer,  found  no  disturbance  of  sight  from 
destroying  the  angular  gyri  alone,  although  Ferrier  found 
blindness  to  ensue.  This  blindness  was  probably  due  to 
inhibitions  exerted  in  distans,  or  to  cutting  of  the  white 
optical  fibres  passing  under  the  angular  gyri  on  their  way 
to  the  occipital  lobes.  Brown  and  Schaefer  got  complete 
and  permanent  blindness  in  one  monkey  from  total  destruc 
tion  of  both  occipital  lobes.  Luciani  and  Seppili,  perform 
ing  this  operation  on  two  monkeys,  found  that  the  animals 
were  only  mentally,  not  sensorially,  blind.  After  some 
weeks  they  saw  their  food,  but  could  not  distinguish  by 
sight  between  figs  and  pieces  of  cork.  Luciani  and  Seppili 
seem,  however,  not  to  have  extirpated  the  entire  lobes. 
When  one  lobe  only  is  injured  the  affection  of  sight  is 
hemiopic  in  monkeys:  in  this  all  observers  agree.  On 
the  whole,  then,  Munk's  original  location  of  vision  ID  the 
occipital  lobes  is  confirmed  by  the  later  evidence.* 

In  man  we  have  more  exact  results,  since  we  are  not 
driven  to  interpret  the  vision  from  the  outward  conduct. 
On  the  other  hand,  however,  we  cannot  vivisect,  but  must 
wait  for  pathological  lesions  to  turn  up.  The  pathologists 
who  have  discussed  these  (the  literature  is  tedious  ad  libi 
tum)  conclude  that  the  occipital  lobes  are  the  indispensable 
part  for  vision  in  man.  Hemiopic  disturbance  in  both  eyes 
comes  from  lesion  of  either  one  of  them,  and  total  blindness, 
sensorial  as  well  as  psychic,  from  destruction  of  both. 

Hemiopia  may  also  result  from  lesion  in  other  parts, 
especially  the  neighboring  angular  and  supra-marginal  gyri, 
and  it  may  accompany  extensive  injury  in  the  motor  region 
of  the  cortex.  In  these  cases  it  seems  probable  that  it  is 
due  to  an  actio  in  distans,  probably  to  the  interruption  oi 

*  H.  Munk:  Functionen  der  Grosshirnrinde  (Berlin,  1881),  pp.  36-40 
Ferrier  :  Functions,  etc.,2ded.,  chap,  ix,  pt.  i.  Brown  and  Schaefer. 
Philos.  Transactions,  vol.  179,  p.  321.  Luciani  u.  Seppili,  op.  cit.  pp. 
131-138.  Lannegrace  found  traces  of  sight  with  both  occipital  lobes  de 
stroyed,  and  in  one  monkey  even  when  angular  gyri  and  occipital  lobes 
were  destroyed  altogether.  His  paper  is  in  the  Archives  de  Medeciue 
Experimentale  for  January  and  March,  1889.  I  only  know  it  from  the 
abstract  in  the  Neurologisches  Centralblatt,  1889,  pp.  108-420.  The  reporter 
doubts  the  evidence  of  vision  in  the  monkey.  It  appears  to  have  consisted 
in  avoiding  obstacles  and  in  emotional  disturbance  in  the  presence  of  men. 


48  PSYCHOLOGY. 

fibres  proceeding  from  the  occipital  lobe.  There  seem  to 
be  a  few  cases  on  record  where  there  was  injury  to  the 
occipital  lobes  without  visual  defect.  Ferrier  has  collected 
as  many  as  possible  to  prove  his  localization  in  the  angular 
gyrus.*  A  strict  application  of  logical  principles  would  make 
one  of  these  cases  outweigh  one  hundred  contrary  ones.  And 
yet,  remembering  how  imperfect  observations  may  be,  and 
how  individual  brains  may  vary,  it  would  certainly  be  rash  for 
their  sake  to  throw  away  the  enormous  amount  of  positive 
evidence  for  the  occipital  lobes.  Individual  variability  is 
always  a  possible  explanation  of  an  anomalous  case.  There 
is  no  more  prominent  anatomical  fact  than  that  of  the  '  de- 
cussation  of  the  pyramids,'  nor  any  more  usual  pathologi 
cal  fact  than  its  consequence,  that  left-handed  hemorrhages 
into  the  motor  region  produce  right-handed  paralyses. 
And  yet  the  decussation  is  variable  in  amount,  and  seems 
sometimes  to  be  absent  altogether,  f  If,  in  such  a  case  as 
this  last,  the  left  brain  were  to  become  the  seat  of  apoplexy, 
the  left  and  not  the  right  half  of  the  body  would  be  the 
one  to  suffer  paralysis. 

The  schema  on  the  opposite  page,  copied  from  Dr. 
Seguin,  expresses,  on  the  whole,  the  probable  truth  about  the 
regions  concerned  in  vision.  Not  the  entire  occipital  lobes, 
but  the  so-called  cunei,  and  the  first  convolutions,  are  the 
cortical  parts  most  intimately  concerned.  Nothnagel  agrees 
with  Seguin  in  this  limitation  of  the  essential  tracts. :[ 

A  most  interesting  effect  of  cortical  disorder  is  mental 
blindness.  This  consists  not  so  much  in  insensibility  to 
optical  impressions,  as  in  inability  to  understand  them. 
Psychologically  it  is  interpretable  as  loss  of  associations  be 
tween  optical  sensations  and  what  they  signify ;  and  any 
interruption  of  the  paths  between  the  optic  centres  and  the 
centres  for  other  ideas  ought  to  bring  it  about.  Thus, 

*  Localization  of  Cerebral  Disease  (1878),  pp.  117-8. 

t  For  cases  see  Flecbsig  :  Die  Leitungsbahnen  iu  Gehiru  u.  Riickenmark 
(Leipzig,  1876),  pp.  112,  272;  Exner'sUntersuchungen,  etc.,  p.  83  ;  Ferrier  s 
Localization,  etc.,  p.  11;  Francois-Franck's  Cerveau  Moteur,  p.  63,  note. 

|  E.  C.  Seguin  :  Hemianopsia  of  Cerebral  Origin,  in  Journal  of  Nervous 
and  Mental  Disease,  vol.  xnr.  p.  30.  Notbuagel  und  Naunyn  :  Ueber  die 
Localization  der  Gehirnkrankbeiten  (Wiesbaden,  1887),  p.  10. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN. 


49 


printed  letters  of  the  alphabet,  or  words,  signify  certain 
sounds  and  certain  articulatory  movements.  If  the  con 
nection  between  the  articulating  or  auditory  centres,  on  the 
one  hand,  and  the  visual  centres  on  the  other,  be  ruptured 


L  T.  r. 


R.N. 


L.O.S  L  0.0 

FIQ.  15.— Scheme  of  the  mechanism  of  vision,  after  Seguin.  The  cuneus  convolution 
(0u)  of  the  right  occipital  lobe  is  supposed  to  be  injured,  and  all  the  parts  which 
lead  to  it  are  darkly  shaded  to  show  that  they  fail  to  exert  their  function.  F  O  are 
the  intra-hemispheric  optical  fibres.  P.  O.  C.  is  the  region  of  the  lower  optic  cen 
tres  (corpora  geuiculata  and  quadrigemina).  T.  O.  D.  is  the  right  optic  tract-  C  the 
chiasma;  F.  L.  D.  are  the  fibres  going  to  the  lateral  or  temporal  half  2' of  the  rteht 
retina;  and  F.  C.  8  are  those  going  to  the  central  or  nasal  half  of  the  left  retina 
O.  D.  is  the  right,  and  O.  S.  the  left  eyeball.  The  rightward  half  of  each  is  there 
fore  blind:  in  other  words,  the  right  nasal  field,  R.  N.  F.,  and  the  left  temporal  field 
L.  T.  F.,  have  become  invisible  to  the  subject  with  the  lesion  at  Cu. 

we  ought  a  priori  to  expect  that  the  sight  of  words  would 
fail  to  awaken  the  idea  of  their  sound,  or  the  movement  for 
pronouncing  them.  We  ought,  in  short,  to  have  alexia,  or 
inability  to  read  :  and  this  is  just  what  we  do  have  in  many 


50  PSYCHOLOGY. 

cases  of  extensive  injury  about  the  fronto-teinporal  regions, 
as  a  complication  of  aphasic  disease.  Nothnagel  suggests 
that  whilst  the  cuneus  is  the  seat  of  optical  sensations,  the 
other  parts  of  the  occipital  lobe  may  be  the  field  of  optical 
memories  and  ideas,  from  the  loss  of  which  mental  blind 
ness  should  ensue.  In  fact,  all  the  medical  authors  speak 
of  mental  blindness  as  if  it  must  consist  in  the  loss  of  visual 
images  from  the  memory.  It  seems  to  me,  however,  that 
this  is  a  psychological  misapprehension.  A  man  whose 
power  of  visual  imagination  has  decayed  (no  unusual  phe 
nomenon  in  its  lighter  grades)  is  not  mentally  blind  in 
the  least,  for  he  recognizes  perfectly  all  that  he  sees.  On 
the  other  hand,  he  may  be  mentally  blind,  with  his  optical 
imagination  well  preserved  ;  as  in  the  interesting  case  pub 
lished  by  Wilbrand  in  1887.*  In  the  still  more  interest 
ing  case  of  mental  blindness  recently  published  by  Lissauer,t 
though  the  patient  made  the  most  ludicrous  mistakes,  call 
ing  for  instance  a  clothes-brush  a  pair  of  spectacles,  an  um 
brella  a  plant  with  flowers,  an  apple  a  portrait  of  a  lady,  etc. 
etc.,  he  seemed,  according  to  the  reporter,  to  have  his  men 
tal  images  fairly  well  preserved.  It  is  in  fact  the  momen 
tary  loss  of  our  wow-optical  images  which  makes  us  mentally 
blind,  just  as  it  is  that  of  our  wow-auditory  images  which 
makes  us  mentally  deaf.  I  am  mentally  deaf  if,  hearing  a 
bell,  I  can't  recall  how  it  looks;  and  mentally  blind  if,  see 
ing  it,  I  can't  recall  its  sound  or  its  name.  As  a  matter  of 
fact,  I  should  have  to  be  not  merely  mentally  blind,  but 
stone-blind,  if  all  my  visual  images  were  lost.  For  although 
I  am  blind  to  the  right  half  of  the  field  of  view  if  my 
left  occipital  region  is  injured,  and  to  the  left  half  if  my 
right  region  is  injured,  such  hemianopsia  does  not  deprive 
me  of  visual  images,  experience  seeming  to  show  that 
the  unaffected  hemisphere  is  always  sufficient  for  pro 
duction  of  these.  To  abolish  them  entirely  I  should  have 
to  be  deprived  of  both  occipital  lobes,  and  that  would  de 
prive  me  not  only  of  my  inward  images  of  sight,  but  of  my 


^  *  Die  Seelenblindheit,   etc.,  p.  51  ff.     The  mental  blindness  was  in 
this  woman's  case  moderate  in  degree. 
t  Archiv  f.  Psychiatric,  vol.  21,  p.  222. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  51 

sight  altogether.*  Kecent  pathological  annals  seem  to  offer 
a  few  such  cases. t  Meanwhile  there  are  a  number  of  cases 
of  mental  blindness,  especially  for  written  language,  coupled 
with  hemianopsia,  usually  of  the  rightward  field  of  view. 
These  are  all  explicable  by  the  breaking  down,  through 
disease,  of  the  connecting  tracts  between  the  occipital  lobes 
and  other  parts  of  the  brain,  especially  those  which  go  to 
the  centres  for  speech  in  the  frontal  and  temporal  regions  of 
the  left  hemisphere.  They  are  to  be  classed  among  distur 
bances  of  conduction  or  of  association ;  and  nowhere  can  I  find 
any  fact  which  should  force  us  to  believe  that  optical  images 
needj  be  lost  in  mental  blindness,  or  that  the  cerebral 
centres  for  such  images  are  locally  distinct  from  those  for 
direct  sensations  from  the  eyes.  § 

Where  an  object  fails  to  be  recognized  by  sight,  it  often 
happens  that  the  patient  will  recognize  and  name  it  as  soon 
as  he  touches  it  with  his  hand.  This  shows  in  an  interest- 

*  Nothnagel  (loc.  cit.  p.  22)  says  :  "  Dies  trifft  aber  niclitzu."  He  gives, 
however,  no  case  in  support  of  his  opinion  that  double-sided  cortical  lesion 
may  make  one  stone-blind  and  yet  not  destroy  one's  visual  images  ;  so  that 
I  do  not  know  whether  it  is  an  observation  of  fact  or  an  a  priori  as 
sumption. 

f  In  a  case  published  by  C.  S.  Freund :  Archiv  f.  Psychiatric,  vol.  xx,  the 
occipital  lobes  were  injured,  but  their  cortex  was  not  destroyed,  on  both 
sides.  There  was  still  vision.  Of.  pp.  291-5. 

\  I  say  '  need, '  for  I  do  not  of  course  deny  the  possible  coexistence  of  the 
two  symptoms.  Many  a  brain-lesion  might  block  optical  associations  and  at 
the  same  time  impair  optical  imagination,  without  entirely  stopping  vision. 
Such  a  case  seems  to  have  been  the  remarkable  one  from  Charcot  which  I 
shall  give  rather  fully  in  the  chapter  on  Imagination. 

§  Freund  (in  the  article  cited  above  '  Ueber  optZsche  Aphasie  und 
Seelenblindheit ')  and  Bruns  ('  Ein  Fall  von  Alexie,'  etc.,  in  the  Neuro- 
logisches  Centralblatt  for  1888,  pp.  581,  509)  explain  their  cases  by  broken- 
down  conduction.  Wilbraud,  whose  painstaking  monograph  on  mental 
blindness  was  referred  to  a  moment  ago,  gives  none  but  a  priori  reasons  for 
his  belief  that  the  optical  'Erinnerungsfeld  '  must  be  locally  distinct  from 
the  Wahrnehmungsfeld  (cf.  pp.  84,  93).  The  a  priori  reasons  are  really  the 
other  way.  Mauthner  ('  Gehirn  u.  Auge  '  (1881),  p.  487  ff.)  tries  to  show 
that  the  '  mental  blindness'  of  Muuk's  dogs  and  apes  after  occipital  mutila 
tion  was  not  such,  but  real  dimness  of  sight.  The  best  case  of  mental 
blindness  yet  reported  is  that  by  Lissauer,  as  above.  The  reader  will  also 
do  well  to  read  Bernard  :  De  1'Aphasie  (1885)  chap,  v;  Ballet :  Le  Laugage 
Interieur  (1886),  chap,  vin  ;  and  Jas.  Koss's  little  book  on  Aphasia  (1887). 
p.  74 


52  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ing  way  how  numerous  the  associative  paths  are  which  all 
end  by  running  out  of  the  brain  through  the  channel  of 
speech.  The  hand-path  is  open,  though  the  eye-path  be 
closed.  When  mental  blindness  is  most  complete,  neither 
sight,  touch,  nor  sound  avails  to  steer  the  patient,  and  a  sort 
of  dementia  which  has  been  called  asymbolia  or  apraxia  is 
the  result.  The  commonest  articles  are  not  understood. 
The  patient  will  put  his  breeches  on  one  shoulder  and  his 
hat  upon  the  other,  will  bite  into  the  soap  and  lay  his  shoes 
on  the  table,  or  take  his  food  into  his  hand  and  throw  it 
down  again,  not  knowing  what  to  do  with  it,  etc.  Such  dis 
order  can  only  come  from  extensive  brain-injury.* 

The  method  of  degeneration  corroborates  the  other  evi 
dence  localizing  the  tracts  of  vision.  In  young  animals  one 
gets  secondary  degeneration  of  the  occipital  regions  from 
destroying  an  eyeball,  and,  vice  versa,  degeneration  of  the 
optic  nerves  from  destroying  the  occipital  regions.  The 
corpora  geniculata,  thalami,  and  subcortical  fibres  leading 
to  the  occipital  lobes  are  also  found  atrophied  in  these 
cases.  The  phenomena  are  not  uniform,  but  are  indispu 
table  ;  f  so  that,  taking  all  lines  of  evidence  together,  the 
special  connection  of  vision  with  the  occipital  lobes  is  per 
fectly  made  out.  It  should  be  added  that  the  occipital 
lobes  have  frequently  been  found  shrunken  in  cases  of  in 
veterate  blindness  in  man. 

Hearing. 

Hearing  is  hardly  as  definitely  localized  as  sight.  In  the 
dog,  Luciani's  diagram  will  show  the  regions  which  directly  or 
indirectly  affect  it  for  the  worse  when  injured.  As  with  sight, 
one-sided  lesions  produce  symptoms  on  both  sides.  The 
mixture  of  black  dots  and  gray  dots  in  the  diagram  is  meant 
to  represent  this  mixture  of  '  crossed  '  and  '  uncrossed  '  con 
nections,  though  of  course  no  topographical  exactitude  is 
aimed  at.  Of  all  the  region,  the  temporal  lobe  is  the  most 
important  part ;  yet  permanent  absolute  deafness  did  not 

*  For  a  case  see  Wernicke's  Lelirb.  d.  Gehirnkrankhciten  vol   n  p 
554  (1881). 

f  The  latest  account  of  them  is  the  paper  '  Uber  die  optischen  Cenlren 
Bahnen'  by  von  Monakow  in  the  Archiv  fur  Psychiatric,  vol.  xx.  p.  714. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  53 

result  in  a  dog  of  Luciani's,  even  from  bilateral  destruction 
of  both  temporal  lobes  in  their  entirety.  * 

In  the  monkey,  Ferrier  and  Yeo  once  found  permanent 
deafness  to  follow  destruction  of  the  upper  temporal  con 
volution  (the  one  just  below  the  fissure  of  Sylvius  in  Fig. 


FIG.  16.— Luciani's  Hearing  Region. 

6)  on  both  sides.  Brown  and  Schaefer  found,  on  the  con 
trary,  that  in  several  monkeys  this  operation  failed  to  notice 
ably  affect  the  hearing.  In  one  animal,  indeed,  both  entire 
temporal  lobes  were  destroyed.  After  a  week  or  two  of 
depression  of  the  mental  faculties  this  beast  recovered  and 
became  one  of  the  brightest  monkeys  possible,  domineering 
over  all  his  mates,  and  admitted  by  all  who  saw  him  to 
have  all  his  senses,  including  hearing,  'perfectly  acute.' f 
Terrible  recriminations  have,  as  usual,  ensued  between  the 
investigators,  Ferrier  denying  that  Brown  and  Schaefer's 
ablations  were  complete,  J  Schaefer  that  Ferrier's  monkey 
was  really  deaf.§  In  this  unsatisfactory  condition  the  sub 
ject  must  be  left,  although  there  seems  no  reason  to  doubt 
that  Brown  and  Schaefer's  observation  is  the  more  important 
of  the  two. 

In  man  the  temporal  lobe  is  unquestionably  the  seat  of 
the  hearing  function,  and  the  superior  convolution  adjacent 
to  the  sylvian  fissure  is  its  most  important  part.  The  phe 
nomena  of  aphasia  show  this.  We  studied  motor  aphasia  a 
few  pages  back ;  we  must  now  consider  sensory  aphasia. 

*  Die  Functions-Localization,  etc.,  Dog  X;  see  also  p.  161. 
f  Philos.  Trans.,  vol.  179,  p.  312. 
$  Brain,  vol.  xi.  p.  10. 
§  Ibid.  p.  147 


54  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Our  knowledge  of  this  disease  has  had  three  stages :  we 
may  talk  of  the  period  of  Broca,  the  period  of  Wernicke, 
and  the  period  of  Charcot.  What  Broca's  discovery  was  we 
have  seen.  Wernicke  was  the  first  to  discriminate  those 
cases  in  which  the  patient  can  not  even  understand  speech 
from  those  in  which  he  can  understand,  only  not  talk ;  and 
to  ascribe  the  former  condition  to  lesion  of  the  temporal 
lobe.*  The  condition  in  question  is  word-deafness,  and  the 
disease  is  auditory  aphasia.  The  latest  statistical  survey  of 
the  subject  is  that  by  Dr.  Allen  Starr,  f  In  the  seven  cases 
oipure  word-deafness  which  he  has  collected,  cases  in  which 
the  patient  could  read,  talk,  and  write,  but  not  understand 
what  was  said  to  him,  the  lesion  was  limited  to  the  first  and 
second  temporal  convolutions  in  their  posterior  two  thirds. 
The  lesion  (in  right-handed,  i.e.  left-brained,  persons)  is 
always  on  the  left  side,  like  the  lesion  in  motor  aphasia. 
Crude  hearing  would  not  be  abolished,  even  were  the  left 
centre  for  it  utterly  destroyed ;  the  right  centre  would  still 
provide  for  that.  But  the  linguistic  use  of  hearing  appears 
bound  up  with  the  integrity  of  the  left  centre  more  or  less 
exclusively.  Here  it  must  be  that  words  heard  enter  into 
association  with  the  things  which  they  represent,  on  the  one 
hand,  and  with  the  movements  necessary  for  pronouncing 
them,  on  the  other.  In  a  large  majority  of  Dr.  Starr's  fifty 
cases,  the  power  either  to  name  objects  or  to  talk  coherently 
was  impaired.  This  shows  that  in  most  of  us  (as  Wernicke 
said)  speech  must  go  on  from  auditory  cues  ;  that  is,  it 
must  be  that  our  ideas  do  not  innervate  our  motor  centres 
directly,  but  only  after  first  arousing  the  mental  sound  of 
the  words.  This  is  the  immediate  stimulus  to  articulation ; 
and  where  the  possibility  of  this  is  abolished  by  the  de 
struction  of  its  usual  channel  in  the  left  temporal  lobe,  the 
articulation  must  suffer.  In  the  few  cases  in  which  the 
channel  is  abolished  with  no  bad  effect  on  speech  we  must 
suppose  an  idiosyncrasy.  The  patient  must  innervate  his 
speech-organs  either  from  the  corresponding  portion  of  the 
other  hemisphere  or  directly  from  the  centres  of  ideation, 

*  Der  aphasische  Symptomencomplex  (1874).     See  in  Fig.  11  the  con 
volution  marked  WERNICKE. 

f  'The  Pathology  of  Sensory  Aphasia,'  'Brain/  July,  1889. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  55 

those,  namely,  of  vision,  touch,  etc.,  without  leaning  on  the 
auditory  region.  It  is  the  minuter  analysis  of  the  facts  in 
the  light  of  such  individual  differences  as  these  which  con 
stitutes  Charcot's  contribution  towards  clearing  up  the 
subject. 

Every  namable  thing,  act,  or  relation  has  numerous 
properties,  qualities,  or  aspects.  In  our  minds  the  proper 
ties  of  each  thing,  together  with  its  name,  form  an  associated 
group.  If  different  parts  of  the  brain  are  severally  con 
cerned  with  the  several  properties,  and  a  farther  part  with 
the  hearing,  and  still  another  with  the  uttering,  of  the  name, 
there  must  inevitably  be  brought  about  (through  the  law  of 
association  which  we  shall  later  study)  such  a  dynamic  connec 
tion  amongst  all  these  brain-parts  that  the  activity  of  any  one 
of  them  wiJl  be  likely  to  awaken  the  activity  of  all  the  rest. 
When  we  are  talking  as  we  think,  the  ultimate  process  is  that 
of  utterance.  If  the  brain-part  for  that  be  injured,  speech 
is  impossible  or  disorderly,  even  though  all  the  other  brain- 
parts  be  intact :  and  this  is  just  the  condition  of  things 
which,  on  page  37,  we  found  to  be  brought  about  by 
limited  lesion  of  the  left  inferior  frontal  convolution.  But 
back  of  that  last  act  various  orders  of  succession  are 
possible  in  the  associations  of  a  talking  man's  ideas.  The 
more  usual  order  seems  to  be  from  the  tactile,  visual,  or 
other  properties  of  the  things  thought-about  to  the  sound 
of  their  names,  and  then  to  the  latter's  utterance.  But  if  in 
a  certain  individual  the  thought  of  the  look  of  an  object  or 
of  the  look  of  its  printed  name  be  the  process  which 
habitually  precedes  articulation,  then  the  loss  of  the 
hearing  centre  will  pro  tanto  not  affect  that  individual's 
speech.  He  will  be  mentally  deaf,  i.e.  his  understanding  of 
speech  will  suffer,  but  he  will  not  be  aphasic.  In  this  way 
it  is  possible  to  explain  the  seven  cases  of  pure  word-deaf 
ness  which  figure  in  Dr.  Starr's  table. 

If  this  order  of  association  be  ingrained  and  habitual  in 
that  individual,  injury  to  his  visucd  centres  will  make  him 
not  only  word- blind,  but  aphasic  as  well.  His  speech  will 
become  confused  in  consequence  of  an  occipital  lesion. 
Naunyn,  consequently,  plotting  out  on  a  diagram  of  the 
hemisphere  the  71  irreproachably  reported  cases  of 


56  PSYCHOLOGY. 

aphasia  which  he  was  able  to  collect,  finds  that  the  lesions 
concentrate  themselves  in  three  places  :  first,  on  Broca's 
centre  ;  second,  on  Wernicke's  ;  third,  on  the  supra-marginal 
and  angular  gyri  under  which  those  fibres  pass  which  con 
nect  the  visual  centres  with  the  rest  of  the  brain*  (see  Fig. 
17).  With  this  result  Dr.  Starr's  analysis  of  purely  sensory 
cases  agrees. 


Pio.  li. 

In  a  later  chapter  we  shall  again  return  to  these  differences 
in  the  effectiveness  of  the  sensory  spheres  in  different 
individuals.  Meanwhile  few  things  show  more  beautifully 
than  the  history  of  our  knowledge  of  aphasia  how  the 
sagacity  and  patience  of  many  banded  workers  are  in  time 
certain  to  analyze  the  darkest  confusion  into  an  orderly 
display. f  There  is  no  '  centre  of  Speech'  in  the  brain  any 
more  than  there  is  a  faculty  of  Speech  in  the  mind.  The 
entire  brain,  more  or  less,  is  at  work  in  a  man  who  uses 
language.  The  subjoined  diagram,  from  Koss,  shows  the 
four  parts  most  critically  concerned,  and,  in  the  light  of  our 
text,  needs  no  farther  explanation  (see  Fig.  18). 

*Nothnagel  und  Naunyn  :  op.  eit.,  plates. 

f  Ballet's  and  Bernard's  works  cited  on  p.  51  are  the  most  accessible 
documents  of  Charcot's  school.  Bastian's  book  on  the  Brain  as  an  Organ 
of  Mind  (last  three  chapters)  is  also  good. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN. 


Smell. 


Everything  conspires  to  point  to  the  median  descending 
part  of  the  temporal  lobes  as  being  the  organs  of  smell. 
Even  Terrier  and  Munk  agree  on  the  hippocampal  gyrus, 


Fia.  18. 

though  Ferrier  restricts  olfaction,  as  Munk  does  not,  to  the 
lobule  or  uncinate  process  of  the  convolution,  reserving  the 
rest  of  it  for  touch.  Anatomy  and  pathology  also  point  to 
the  hippocampal  gyrus  ;  but  as  the  matter  is  less  interest 
ing  from  the  point  of  view  of  human  psychology  than  were 
sight  and  hearing,  I  will  say  no  more,  but  simply  add 
LucianiandSeppili's  diagram  of  the  dog's  smell-centre.*  Of 


*For  details,  see  Ferrier's  'Functions,'  chap,  ix.  pt.  m,  and  Chas. 
K.  Mills :  Transactions  of  Congress  of  American  Physicians  and  Sur 
geons,  1888,  vol.  i.  p.  278. 


58 


PSYCHOLOGY. 

Taste 


we  know  little  that  is  definite.  What  little  there  is  points 
to  the  lower  temporal  regions  again.  Consult  Terrier  as 
below. 

Touch. 

Interesting  problems  arise  with  regard  to  the  seat  of 
tactile  and  muscular  sensibility.  Hitzig,  whose  experiments 
on  dogs'  brains  fifteen  years  ago  opened  the  entire  subject 


Fia.  19. — Luciani's  Olfactory  Region  in  the  Dog. 

which  we  are  discussing,  ascribed  the  disorders  of  motility 
observed  after  ablations  of  the  motor  region  to  a  loss  of 
what  he  called  muscular  consciousness.  The  animals  do 
not  notice  eccentric  positions  of  their  limbs,  will  stand  with 
their  legs  crossed,  with  the  affected  paw  resting  on  its  back 
or  hanging  over  a  table's  edge,  etc.;  and  do  not  resist  our 
bending  and  stretching  of  it  as  they  resist  with  the  un 
affected  paw.  Goltz,  Munk,  Schiff,  Herzen,  and  others 
promptly  ascertained  an  equal  defect  of  cutaneous  sensi 
bility  to  pain,  touch,  and  cold.  The  paw  is  not  withdrawn 
when  pinched,  remains  standing  in  cold  water,  etc.  Fer- 
rier  meanwhile  denied  that  there  was  any  true  anaesthesia 
produced  by  ablations  in  the  motor  zone,  and  explains 
the  appearance  of  it  as  an  effect  of  the  sluggish  motor 
responses  of  the  affected  side.*  Munkf  and  Schiff  J,  on  the 

*  Functions  of  the  Brain,  chap.  x.  §  14. 
tUeber  die  Functionen  d.  Grosshirnrinde  (1881),  p.  50 
JLezioni  di   Fisiologia  sperirnentale   sul   sistema  nervoso  encefalico 
(1  73),  p.  527  ff.     Also  'Brain/  vol.  ix.  p.  298. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  69 

contrary,  conceive  of  the  '  motor  zone '  as  essentially  sen 
sory,  and  in  different  ways  explain  the  motor  disorders  as 
secondary  results  of  the  anaesthesia  which  is  always  there, 
Munk  calls  the  motor  zone  the  Fiihlsphare  of  the  animal's 
limbs,  etc.,  and  makes  it  coordinate  with  the  Sehsphiire, 
the  Horsphiire,  etc.,  the  entire  cortex  being,  according  to 
him,  nothing  but  a  projection-surface  for  sensations,  with 
no  exclusively  or  essentially  motor  part.  Such  a  view 
would  be  important  if  true,  through  its  bearings  on  the 
psychology  of  volition.  What  is  the  truth?  As  regards 
the  fact  of  cutaneous  anaesthesia  from  motor-zone  ablationsv 
all  other  observers  are  against  Ferrier,  so  that  he  is  proba 
bly  wrong  in  denying  it.  On  the  other  hand,  Munk  and 
Schiff  are  wrong  in  making  the  motor  symptoms  depend  on 
the  anaesthesia,  for  in  certain  rare  cases  they  have  been 
observed  to  exist  not  only  without  insensibility,  but  with 
actual  hypersesthesia  of  the  parts.*  The  motor  and 
sensory  symptoms  seem,  therefore,  to  be  independent 
variables. 

In  monkeys  the  latest  experiments  are  those  of  Horsley 
and  Schaefer,f  whose  results  Ferrier  accepts.  They  find 
that  excision  of  the  hippocampal  convolution  produces  tran 
sient  insensibility  of  the  opposite  side  of  the  body,  and  that 
permanent  insensibility  is  produced  by  destruction  of  its 
continuation  upwards  above  the  corpus  callosum,  the  so- 
called  gyrus  fornicatus  (the  part  just  below  the  '  calloso- 
marginal  fissure '  in  Fig.  7).  The  insensibility  is  at  its  maxi 
mum  when  the  entire  tract  comprising  both  convolutions  is 
destroyed.  Ferrier  says  that  the  sensibility  of  monkeys  is 
'entirely  unaffected'  by  ablations  of  the  motor  zone,J  and 
Horsley  and  Schaefer  consider  it  by  no  means  necessarily 


*Bechterew  (Pfluger's  Archiv.,  vol.  35,  p.  137)  found  no  anaesthesia  in 
a  cat  with  motor  symptoms  from  ablation  of  sigmoid  gyrus.  Luciani  got 
hypersesthesia  coexistent  with  cortical  motor  defect  in  a  dog,  by  simulta 
neously  hemisecting  the  spinal  cord  (Luciani  u.  Seppili,  op.  cit.  p.  234). 
Goltz  frequently  found  hyperaesthesia  of  the  whole  body  to  accompany 
motor  defect  after  ablation  of  both  frontal  lobes,  and  he  once  found  it 
after  ablating  the  motor  zone  (Pfliiger's  Archiv,  vol.  34,  p.  471). 

f  Philos.  Transactions,  vol.  179,  p.  20  ff. 

|  Functions,  p.  375, 


60  PSYCHOLOGY. 

abolished.*    Luciani  found  it  diminished  in  his  three  ex 
periments  on  apes.f 

In  man  we  have  the  fact  that  one-sided  paralysis  from 
disease  of  the  opposite  motor  zone  may  or  may  not  be 
accompanied  with  anaesthesia  of  the  parts.  Luciani,  who 


FIG.  20.— Luciani's  Tactile  Region  in  the  Dog. 

believes  that  the  motor  zone  is  also  sensory,  tries  to  minim 
ize  the  value  of  this  evidence  by  pointing  to  the  insufficiency 
with  which  patients  are  examined.  He  himself  believes  that 
in  dogs  the  tactile  sphere  extends  backwards  and  forwards 
of  the  directly  excitable  region,  into  the  frontal  and  parietal 
lobes  (see  Fig.  20).  Nothnagel  considers  that  pathological 
evidence  points  in  the  same  direction ;  ;£  and  Dr.  Mills,  care 
fully  reviewing  the  evidence,  adds  the  gyri  fornicatus  and 
hippocampi  to  the  cutaneo-muscular  region  in  man.§  If  one 
compare  Luciani's  diagrams  together  (Figs.  14, 16,  19,  20) 
one  will  see  that  the  entire  parietal  region  of  the  dog's  skull 
is  common  to  the  four  senses  of  sight,  hearing,  smell,  and 
touch,  including  muscular  feeling.  The  corresponding  re 
gion  in  the  human  brain  (upper  parietal  and  supra-marginal 
gyri — see  Fig.  17,  p.  56)  seems  to  be  a  somewhat  similar 
place  of  conflux.  Optical  aphasias  and  motor  and  tactile 
disturbances  all  result  from  its  injury,  especially  when  that  is 
on  the  left  side.ll  The  lower  we  go  in  the  animal  scale  the 


*  Pp.  15-17.        f  Luciani  u.  Seppili,  op.  cit.  pp.  275-288. 
t  Op.  cit.  p.  18.  §  Trans,  of  Congress,  etc.,  p.  272. 

j  See  Exner's  Unters.  lib.  Localization,  plate  xxv. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  61 

less  differentiated  the  functions  of  the  several  brain-parts 
seem  to  be.*  It  may  be  that  the  region  in  question  still 
represents  in  ourselves  something  like  this  primitive  condi 
tion,  and  that  the  surrounding  parts,  in  adapting  themselves 
more  and  more  to  specialized  and  narrow  functions,  have 
left  it  as  a  sort  of  carrefour  through  which  they  send  cur 
rents  and  converse.  That  it  should  be  connected  with 
musculo-cutaneous  feeling  is,  however,  no  reason  why  the 
motor  zone  proper  should  not  be  so  connected  too.  And 
the  cases  of  paralysis  from  the  motor  zone  with  no  accom 
panying  anaesthesia  may  be  explicable  without  denying  all 
sensory  function  to  that  region.  For,  as  my  colleague  Dr. 
James  Putnam  informs  me,  sensibility  is  always  harder  to 
kill  than  motility,  even  where  we  know  for  a  certainty  that 
the  lesion  affects  tracts  that  are  both  sensory  and  motor. 
Persons  whose  hand  is  paralyzed  in  its  movements  from 
compression  of  arm-nerves  during  sleep,  still  feel  with  their 
fingers  ;  and  they  may  still  feel  in  their  feet  when  their  legs 
are  paralyzed  by  bruising  of  the  spinal  cord.  In  a  simi 
lar  way,  the  motor  cortex  might  be  sensitive  as  well  as 
motor,  and  yet  by  this  greater  subtlety  (or  whatever  the 
peculiarity  may  be)  in  the  sensory  currents,  the  sensibility 
might  survive  an  amount  of  injury  there  by  which  the 
motility  was  destroyed.  Nothnagel  considers  that  there  are 
grounds  for  supposing  the  muscular  sense  to  be  exclusively 
connected  with  the  parietal  lobe  and  not  with  the  motor 
zone.  "  Disease  of  this  lobe  gives  pure  ataxy  without  palsy, 
and  of  the  motor  zone  pure  palsy  without  loss  of  muscular 
sense."  f  He  fails,  however,  to  convince  more  competent 
critics  than  the  present  writer,:]:  so  I  conclude  with  them 
that  as  yet  we  have  no  decisive  grounds  for  locating  muscular 
and  cutaneous  feeling  apart.  Much  still  remains  to  be 
learned  about  the  relations  between  musculo-cutaneous 
sensibility  and  the  cortex,  but  one  thing  is  certain:  that 
neither  the  occipital,  the  forward  frontal,  nor  the  temporal 
lobes  seem  to  have  anything  essential  to  do  with  it  in  man. 

*  Cf.  Ferrier's  Functions,  etc.,  chap,  iv  and  chap,  x,  §§  6  to  9. 
f  Op.  cit.  p.  17. 

\  E.g.  Starr,  loc.  cit.  p  272;  Leyden,  Beitrilge  zur  Lehre  v.  d.  Localiza 
tion  im  Gehirn  (1888),  p.  72. 


62  PSYCHOLOGY. 

It  is  knit  up  with  the  performances  of  the  motor  zone  and 
of  the  convolutions  backwards  and  midtvards  of  them.  The 
reader  must  remember  this  conclusion  when  we  come  tc 
the  chapter  on  the  Will. 

I  must  add  a  word  about  the  connection  of  aphasia 
with  the  tactile  sense.  On  p.  40  I  spoke  of  those  cases 
in  which  the  patient  can  write  but  not  read  his  own  writ 
ing.  He  cannot  read  by  his  eyes  ;  but  he  can  read  by  the 
feeling  in  his  fingers,  if  he  retrace  the  letters  in  the  air. 
It  is  convenient  for  such  a  patient  to  have  a  pen  in  hand 
whilst  reading  in  this  way,  in  order  to  make  the  usual  feel 
ing  of  writing  more  complete.*  In  such  a  case  we  must 
suppose  that  the  path  between  the  optical  and  the  graphic 
centres  remains  open,  whilst  that  between  the  optical  and 
the  auditory  and  articulatory  centres  is  closed.  Only  thus 
can  we  understand  how  the  look  of  the  writing  should  fail 
to  suggest  the  sound  of  the  words  to  the  patient's  mind, 
whilst  it  still  suggests  the  proper  movements  of  graphic 
imitation.  These  movements  in  their  turn  must  of  course 
be  felt,  and  the  feeling  of  them  must  be  associated  with 
the  centres  for  hearing  and  pronouncing  the  words.  The 
injury  in  cases  like  this  where  very  special  combinations 
fail,  whilst  others  go  on  as  usual,  must  always  be  supposed 
to  be  of  the  nature  of  increased  resistance  to  the  passage 
of  certain  currents  of  association.  If  any  of  the  elements  of 
mental  function  were  destroyed  the  incapacity  would 
necessarily  be  much  more  formidable.  A  patient  who  can 
both  read  and  write  with  his  fingers  most  likely  uses  an 
identical  '  graphic '  centre,  at  once  sensory  and  motor,  for 
both  operations. 

I  have  now  given,  as  far  as  the  nature  of  this  book  will 
allow,  a  complete  account  of  the  present  state  of  the  locali 
zation-question.  In  its  main  outlines  it  stands  firm,  though 
much  has  still  to  be  discovered.  The  anterior  frontal  lobes, 
for  example,  so  far  as  is  yet  known,  have  no  definite  functions. 
G-oltz  finds  that  dogs  bereft  of  them  both  are  incessantly  in 
motion,  and  excitable  by  every  small  stimulus.  They  are 

*  Bernard,  op.  cit.  p.  84. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  63 

kascible  and  amative  in  an  extraordinary  degree,  and  their 
sides  grow  bare  with  perpetual  reflex  scratching ;  but  they 
show  no  local  troubles  of  either  motion  or  sensibility.  In 
monkeys  not  even  this  lack  of  inhibitory  ability  is  shown, 
and  neither  stimulation  nor  excision  of  the  prefrontal  lobes 
produces  any  symptoms  whatever.  One  monkey  of  Horsley 
and  Schaefer's  was  as  tame,  and  did  certain  tricks  as  well 
after  as  before  the  operation.*  It  is  probable  that  we  have 
about  reached  the  limits  of  what  can  be  learned  about  brain- 
functions  from  vivisecting  inferior  animals,  and  that  we 
must  hereafter  look  more  exclusively  to  human  pathology 
for  light.  The  existence  of  separate  speech  and  writing 
centres  in  the  left  hemisphere  in  man ;  the  fact  that  palsy 
from  cortical  injury  is  so  much  more  complete  and  endur 
ing  in  man  and  the  monkey  than  in  dogs ;  and  the  farther 
fact  that  it  seems  more  difficult  to  get  complete  sensorial 
blindness  from  cortical  ablations  in  the  lower  animals  than 
in  man,  all  show  that  functions  get  more  specially  local 
ized  as  evolution  goes  on.  In  birds  localization  seems 
hardly  to  exist,  and  in  rodents  it  is  much  less  conspicuous 
than  in  carnivora.  Even  for  man,  however,  Munk's  way  of 
mapping  out  the  cortex  into  absolute  areas  within  which 
only  one  movement  or  sensation  is  represented  is  surely 
false.  The  truth  seems  to  be  rather  that,  although  there  is 
a  correspondence  of  certain  regions  of  the  brain  to  certain 
regions  of  the  body,  yet  the  several  parts  within  each  bodily 
region  are  represented  throughout  the  whole  of  the  corre 
sponding  brain-region  like  pepper  and  salt  sprinkled  from 
the  same  caster.  This,  however,  does  not  prevent  each 
'  part '  from  having  its  focus  at  one  spot  within  the  brain- 
region.  The  various  brain-regions  merge  into  each  other 
in  the  same  mixed  way.  As  Mr.  Horsley  says :  "  There  are 
border  centres,  and  the  area  of  representation  of  the  face 
merges  into  that  for  the  representation  of  the  upper  limb. 
If  there  was  a  focal  lesion  at  that  point,  you  would  have 
the  movements  of  these  two  parts  starting  together."  f 

*  Philos.  Trans.,  vol.  179,  p.  3. 

f  Trans,  of  Congress  of  Am.  Phys.  and  Surg.  1888,  vol.  i.  p.  343. 
Beevor  and  Horsley's  paper  on  electric  stimulation  of  the  monkey's  bruin 
is  the  most  beautiful  work  yet  done  for  precision.  See  Phil.  Trans.,  vol. 
179,  p.  205,  especially  the  plates. 


64 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


The  accompanying  figure  from  Paneth  shows  just  how  the 

matter  stands  in  the  dog.* 

I  am  speaking  now  of  localiza 
tions  breadthwise  over  the  brain- 
surface.  It  is  conceivable  that 
there  might  be  also  localizations 
depthwise  through  the  cortex.  The 
more  superficial  cells  are  smaller, 
the  deepest  layer  of  them  is  large ; 
and  it  has  been  suggested  that  the 
superficial  cells  are  sensorial,  the 
deeper  ones  motor  ;f  or  that  the 
superficial  ones  in  the  motor  region 
are  correlated  with  the  extremities 
of  the  organs  to  be  moved  (fingers, 
etc.),  the  deeper  ones  with  the  more 
central  segments  (wrist,  elbow, 
etc.).  J  It  need  hardly  be  said  that 
all  such  theories  are  as  yet  but 
guesses. 

We  thus  see  that  the  postulate 
of  Meynert  and  Jackson  which  we 
started  with  en  p.  30  is  on  the  whole 
most  satisfactorily  corroborated 
by  subsequent  objective  research. 
The  highest  centres  do  probably 

FIG.  21. -Dog's  motor  centres,  right  contain    nothing     but    arrangements 

hemisphere,  according  to  Paneth.  y 

—The  points  of  the  motor  region  for    representing     impressions     and 

are  correlated  as   follows   with-'  "  "  * 

mnscies:  the  loops  with  the  orbi-  movements,  and  other  arrangements 

culans  palpebrarum;  the  plain  .  * 

crosses twith  the  flexor,  the  crosses  for     coupling      the     activity     O/     these 

inscribed  in  circles  with  the  ex-  J  Jf      "V  ^ 

tensor,  digitorum  communis  of  arrangements    together. §      Currents 

the  fore-paw;    the  plain  circles  ° 

with    the    abductor    poiiicis  pouring  in  from  the  sense-organs 

longus;  the  doutle  crosses  with    r  3 

the  extensor  communis  of  the  first    excite    some     arrangements, 

hind-limb. 

*  Pfltiger's  Archiv,  vol.  37,  p.  523  (1885). 

f  By  Lays  in  his  generally  preposterous  book  '  The  Brain' ;  also  by 
Horsley. 

\  C.  Mercier  :  The  Nervous  System  and  the  Mind,  p.  124. 

§  The  frontal  lobes  as  yet  remain  a  puzzle.  Wundt  tries  to  explain 
them  as  an  organ  of  'apperception'  (Grundzuge  d.  Pbysiologischen 
Psychologic,  3d  ed..  vol.  i.  p.  233  If.),  but  1  confess  myself  unable  to  appre 
hend  clearly  the  Wundtian  philosophy  so  far  as  this  word  enters  into  it.  se 
must  be  contented  with  this  bare  reference.— Until  quite  recently  it  wae 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  65 

which  in  turn  excite  others,  until  at  last  a  motor  discharge 
downwards  of  some  sort  occurs.  When  this  is  once 
clearly  grasped  there  remains  little  ground  for  keeping 
up  that  old  controversy  about  the  motor  zone,  as  to 
whether  it  is  in  reality  motor  or  sensitive.  The  whole 
cortex,  inasmuch  as  currents  run  through  it,  is  both.  All 
the  currents  probably  have  feelings  going  with  them,  and 
sooner  or  later  bring  movements  about.  In  one  aspect,  then, 
every  centre  is  afferent,  in  another  efferent,  even  the  motor 
cells  of  the  spinal  cord  having  these  two  aspects  insepara 
bly  conjoined.  Marique,*  and  Exner  and  Panethf  have 
shown  that  by  cutting  round  a  '  motor '  centre  and  so  sepa 
rating  it  from  the  influence  of  the  rest  of  the  cortex,  the 
same  disorders  are  produced  as  by  cutting  it  out,  so  that 
really  it  is  only  the  mouth  of  the  funnel,  as  it  were, 
through  which  the  stream  of  innervation,  starting  from  else 
where,  pours  ;  J  consciousness  accompanying  the  stream, 
and  being  mainly  of  things  seen  if  the  stream  is  strongest 
occipitally,  of  things  heard  if  it  is  strongest  temporally, 
of  things  felt,  etc.,  if  the  stream  occupies  most  intensely  the 
'motor  zone.'  It  seems  to  me  that  some  broad  and  vague 
formulation  like  this  is  as  much  as  we  can  safely  venture  on 
in  the  present  state  of  science ;  and  in  subsequent  chapters 
I  expect  to  give  confirmatory  reasons  for  my  view. 

MAN'S    CONSCIOUSNESS   LIMITED   TO   THE   HEMISPHEBES. 

But  is  the  consciousness  which  accompanies  the  activity  of 
the  cortex  the  only  consciousness  that  man  has  ?  or  are  his  lower 
centres  conscious  as  well  ? 

This,  is  a  difficult  question  to  decide,  how  difficult  one 
only  learns  when  one  discovers  that  the  cortex-conscious 
ness  itself  of  certain  objects  can  be  seemingly  annihilated 
in  any  good  hypnotic  subject  by  a  bare  wave  of  his  opera- 
common  to  talk  of  an  '  ideational  centre  '  as  of  something  distinct  from  the 
aggregate  of  other  centres.  Fortunately  this  custom  is  already  on  the 
wane. 

*  Rech.  Exp.  sur  le  Fonctionnement  des  Centres  Psycho-moteurs  (Brus 
sels,  1885). 

f  Ptiiiger's  Archiv,  vol.  44,  p.  544. 

\  I  ought  to  add,  however,  that  Fra^ois-Franck  (Fonctious  Motrices, 
p.  370)  got,  in  two  dogs  and  a  cat,  a  different  result  from  this  sort  of  '  cir 
fjumvallation."' 


66  PSYCHOLOGY. 

tor's  hand,  and  yet  be  proved  by  circumstantial  evidence  to 
exist  all  the  while  in  a  split-off  condition,  quite  as  '  ejective '  * 
to  the  rest  of  the  subject's  mind  as  that  mind  is  to  the  mind 
of  the  bystanders,  f  The  lower  centres  themselves  may 
conceivably  all  the  while  have  a  split-off  consciousness  of 
their  own,  similarly  ejective  to  the  cortex-consciousness; 
but  whether  they  have  it  or  not  can  never  be  known  from 
merely  introspective  evidence.  Meanwhile  the  fact  that 
occipital  destruction  in  man  may  cause  a  blindness  which 
is  apparently  absolute  (no  feeling  remaining  either  of  light 
or  dark  over  one  half  of  the  field  of  view),  would  lead  us  to 
suppose  that  if  our  lower  optical  centres,  the  corpora 
quadrigemina,  and  thalami,  do  have  any  consciousness,  it 
is  at  all  events  a  consciousness  which  does  not  mix  with 
that  which  accompanies  the  cortical  activities,  and  which 
has  nothing  to  do  with  our  personal  Self.  In  lower 
animals  this  may  not  be  so  much  the  case.  The  traces  of 
sight  found  (supra,  p.  46)  in  dogs  and  monkeys  whose  occip 
ital  lobes  were  entirely  destroyed,  may  possibly  have  been 
due  to  the  fact  that  the  lower  centres  of  these  animals  saw, 
and  that  what  they  saw  was  not  ejective  but  objective  to 
the  remaining  cortex,  i.e.  it  formed  part  of  one  and  the 
same  inner  world  with  the  things  which  that  cortex  per 
ceived.  It  may  be,  however,  that  the  phenomena  were  due 
to  the  fact  that  in  these  animals  the  cortical  '  centres '  for 
vision  reach  outside  of  the  occipital  zone,  and  that  destruc 
tion  of  the  latter  fails  to  remove  them  as  completely  as  in 
man.  This,  as  we  know,  is  the  opinion  of  the  experiment 
ers  themselves.  For  practical  purposes,  nevertheless,  and 
limiting  the  meaning  of  the  word  consciousness  to  the  per 
sonal  self  of  the  individual,  we  can  pretty  confidently  answer 
the  question  prefixed  to  this  paragraph  by  saying  that  the 
cortex  is  the  sole  organ  of  consciousness  in  man.$  If  there 

*  For  this  word,  see  T.  K.  Clifford's  Lectures  and  Essays  (1879),  vol.  n. 
p.  72. 

f  See  below,  Chapter  VIII. 

\  Cf.  Ferrier's  Functions,  pp.  120,  147,  414.  See  also  Vulpian:  Le9ons 
sur  la  Physiol.  du  Syst.  Nerveux,  p.  548;  Luciani  u.  Seppili,  op.  cit.  pp. 
404-5;  H.  Maudsley:  Physiology  of  Mind  (1876),  pp.  138  ff.,  197  ff.,  and 
241  ff.  In  G.  H.  Lewes's  Physical  Basis  of  Mind,  Problem  IV: '  The  Reflex 
Theory/  a  very  full  history  of  the  question  is  given. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  67 

be  any  consciousness  pertaining  to  the  lower  centres,  it  is 
a  consciousness  of  which  the  self  knows  nothing. 

THE   RESTITUTION   OF   FUNCTION". 

Another  problem,  not  so  metaphysical,  remains.  The 
most  general  and  striking  fact  connected  with  cortical  in 
jury  is  that  of  the  restoration  of  function.  Functions  lost  at 
first  are  after  a  few  days  or  weeks  restored.  How  are  ive 
to  understand  this  restitution  ? 

Two  theories  are  in  the  field : 

1)  Restitution  is  due  to  the  vicarious  action  either  of  the 
rest  of  the  cortex  or  of  centres  lower  down,  acquiring  func 
tions  which  until  then  they  had  not  performed ; 

2)  It  is  due  to  the  remaining  centres  (whether  cortical  or 
'lower')  resuming  functions  which  they  had  always  had, 
but  of  which   the  wound  had   temporarily  inhibited   the 
exercise.     This  is  the  view  of   which    Goltz  and   Brown- 
Sequard  are  the  most  distinguished  defenders. 

Inhibition  is  a  vera  causa,  of  that  there  can  be  no  doubt. 
The  pneumogastric  nerve  inhibits  the  heart,  the  splanch 
nic  inhibits  the  intestinal  movements,  and  the  superior 
laryngeal  those  of  inspiration.  The  nerve-irritations  which 
may  inhibit  the  contraction  of  arterioles  are  innumerable, 
and  reflex  actions  are  often  repressed  by  the  simultaneous 
excitement  of  other  sensory  nerves.  For  all  such  facts  the 
reader  must  consult  the  treatises  on  physiology.  "What 
concerns  us  here  is  the  inhibition  exerted  by  different  parts 
of  ^ne  nerve-centres,  when  irritated,  on  the  activity  of  dis 
tant  parts.  The  naccidity  of  a  frog  from  '  shock,'  for  a, 
minute  or  so  after  his  medulla  oblongata  is  cut,  is  an  in 
hibition  from  the  seat  of  injury  which  quickly  passes  away. 

What  is  known  as  '  surgical  shock '  (unconsciousness, 
pallor,  dilatation  of  splanchnic  blood-vessels,  and  general 
syncope  and  collapse)  in  the  human  subject  is  an  inhibition 
which  lasts  a  longer  time.  Goltz,  Freusberg,  and  others, 
cutting  the  spinal  cord  in  dogs,  proved  that  there  were 
functions  inhibited  still  longer  by  the  wound,  but  which  re 
established  themselves  ultimately  if  the  animal  was  kept 
alive.  The  lumbar  region  of  the  cord  was  thus  found  to 
contain  independent  vase-motor  centres,  centres  for  erec- 


68  PSYCHOLOGY. 

tion,  for  control  of  the  sphincters,  etc.,  which  could  be 
excited  to  activity  by  tactile  stimuli  and  as  readily  reinhib- 
ited  by  others  simultaneously  applied.*  "We  may  therefore 
plausibly  suppose  that  the  rapid  reappearance  of  motility, 
vision,  etc.,  after  their  first  disappearance  in  consequence 
of  a  cortical  mutilation,  is  due  to  the  passing  off  of 
inhibitions  exerted  by  the  irritated  surface  of  the  wound. 
The  only  question  is  whether  all  restorations  of  function 
must  be  explained  in  this  one  simple  way,  or  whether  some 
part  of  them  may  not  be  owing  to  the  formation  of  entirely 
uew  paths  in  the  remaining  centres,  by  which  they  become 
'  educated '  to  duties  which  they  did  not  originally  possess. 
In  favor  of  an  indefinite  extension  of  the  inhibition  theory 
facts  may  be  cited  such  as  the  following  :  In  dogs  whose  dis 
turbances  due  to  cortical  lesion  have  disappeared,  they  may 
in  consequence  of  some  inner  or  outer  accident  reappear  in  all 
their  intensity  for  24  hours  or  so  and  then  disappear  again,  f 
In  a  dog  made  half  blind  by  an  operation,  and  then  shut 
up  in  the  dark,  vision  comes  back  just  as  quickly  as  in 
other  similar  dogs  whose  sight  is  exercised  systematically 
every  day4  A  dog  which  has  learned  to  beg  before  the 
operation  recommences  this  practice  quite  spontaneously 
a  week  after  a  double-sided  ablation  of  the  motor  zone.§ 
Occasionally,  in  a  pigeon  (or  even,  it  is  said,  in  a  dog) 
we  see  the  disturbances  less  marked  immediately  after 
the  operation  than  they  are  half  an  hour  later.  |  This 
would  be  impossible  were  they  due  to  the  subtraction  of  the 
organs  which  normally  carried  them  on.  Moreover  the 
entire  drift  of  recent  physiological  and  pathological  specu 
lation  is  towards  enthroning  inhibition  as  an  ever-present 
and  indispensable  condition  of  orderly  activity.  We  shall 
see  how  great  is  its  importance,  in  the  chapter  on  the  "Will. 
Mr.  Charles  Mercier  considers  that  no  muscular  contraction, 
once  begun,  would  ever  stop  without  it,  short  of  exhaustion 


*  Goltz  :  Pfltiger's  Archiv,  vol.  8,  p.  460;  Freusberg:  ibid.  vol.  10,  p.  174 

f  Goltz :  Verrichtungen  des  Grosshirns,  p.  78. 

$  Loeb  :  Pfltiger's  Archiv,  vol.  89,  p.  276. 

§  Ibid.  p.  289. 

||  Schrader :  ibid.  vol.  44,  p.  21& 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  69 

of  the  system ;  *  and  Brown-Sequard  has  for  years  been 
accumulating  examples  to  show  how  far  its  influence  ex 
tends,  f  Under  these  circumstances  it  seems  as  if  error 
might  more  probably  lie  in  curtailing  its  sphere  too  much 
than  in  stretching  it  too  far  as  an  explanation  of  the 
phenomena  following  cortical  lesion.  J 

On  the  other  hand,  if  we  admit  no  re-education  of  cen 
tres,  we  not  only  fly  in  the  face  of  an  a  priori  probability, 
but  we  find  ourselves  compelled  by  facts  to  suppose  an 
almost  incredible  number  of  functions  natively  lodged  in  the 
centres  below  the  thalami  or  even  in  those  below  the  corpora 
quadrigemina.  I  will  consider  the  a  priori  objection  after 
first  taking  a  look  at  the  facts  which  I  have  in  mind.  They 
confront  us  the  moment  we  ask  ourselves  just  which  are  the 
parts  ivhich  perform  the  functions  abolished  by  an  operation 
after  sufficient  time  has  elapsed  for  restoration  to  occur  ? 

The  first  observers  thought  that  they  must  be  the  cor 
responding  parts  of  the  opposite  or  intact  hemisphere.  But  as 
long  ago  as  1875  Carville  and  Duret  tested  this  by  cutting 
out  the  fore-leg-centre  on  one  side,  in  a  dog,  and  then,  after 
waiting  till  restitution  had  occurred,  cutting  it  out  on  the 
opposite  side  as  well.  Goltz  and  others  have  done  the 
same  thing.  §  If  the  opposite  side  were  really  the  seat  of  the 
restored  function,  the  original  palsy  should  have  appeared 
again  and  been  permanent.  But  it  did  not  appear  at  all ; 
there  appeared  only  a  palsy  of  the  hitherto  unaffected  side. 
The  next  supposition  is  that  the  parts  surrounding  the  cut-out 
region  learn  vicariously  to  perform  its  duties.  But  here, 
again,  experiment  seems  to  upset  the  hypothesis,  so  far  as 
the  motor  zone  goes  at  least ;  for  we  may  wait  till  motility 
has  returned  in  the  affected  limb,  and  then  both  irritate  the 

*  The  Nervous  System  and  the  Mind  (1888),  chaps,  in,  vi;  also  in 
Brain,  vol.  xi.  p.  361. 

f  Brown-Sequard  has  given  a  resume  of  his  opinions  in  the  Archives 
de  Physiologic  for  Oct.  1889,  5rne.  Serie,  vol.  I.  p  751. 

\  Goltz  first  applied  the  inhibition  theory  to  the  brain  in  his  '  Verrich- 
tungen  des  Grosshirns,'  p.  39  ff.  On  the  general  philosophy  of  Inhibition 
the  reader  may  consult  Brunton's  '  Pharmakology  and  Therapeutics,1 
p.  154  ff.,  and  also  '  Nature/  vol.  27,  p.  419  ff. 

§  E.g.  Herzen,  Herman  u.  Schwalbe's  Jahres-bericht  for  1886,  PhysioL 
AJbth.  p.  38.  (Experiments  on  new-born  puppies.? 


70  PSYCHOLOGY. 

cortex  surrounding  the  wound  without  exciting  the  limb 
to  movement,  and  ablate  it,  without  bringing  back  the 
vanished  palsy.*  It  would  accordingly  seem  that  the  cere 
bral  centres  below  the  cortex  must  be  the  seat  of  the  regained 
activities.  But  Goltz  destroyed  a  dog's  entire  left  hemi 
sphere,  together  with  the  corpus  striatum  and  the  thalamus 
on  that  side,  and  kept  him  alive  until  a  surprisingly  small 
amount  of  motor  and  tactile  disturbance  remained.t  These 
centres  cannot  here  have  accounted  for  the  restitution.  He 
has  even,  as  it  would  appear,  J  ablated  both  the  hemispheres 
of  a  dog,  and  kept  him  alive  51  days,  able  to  walk  and  stand. 
The  corpora  striata  and  thalami  in  this  dog  were  also  prac 
tically  gone.  In  view  of  such  results  we  seem  driven,  with 
M.  Francois-Franck,§  to  fall  back  on  the  ganglia  lower  still, 
or  even  on  the  spinal  cord  as  the  '  vicarious '  organ  of  which 
we  are  in  quest.  If  the  abeyance  of  function  between  the 
operation  and  the  restoration  was  due  exclusively  to  inhibi 
tion,  then  we  must  suppose  these  lowest  centres  to  be  in 
reality  extremely  accomplished  organs.  They  must  always 
have  done  what  we  now  find  them  doing  after  function  is 
restored,  even  when  the  hemispheres  were  intact.  Of 
course  this  is  conceivably  the  case ;  yet  it  does  not  seem 
very  plausible.  And  the  a  priori  considerations  which  a 
moment  since  I  said  I  should  urge,  make  it  less  plausible 
still. 

For,  in  the  first  place,  the  brain  is  essentially  a  place  of 
currents,  which  run  in  organized  paths.  Loss  of  function 
can  only  mean  one  of  two  things,  either  that  a  current  can 
no  longer  run  in,  or  that  if  it  runs  in,  it  can  no  longer  run 
out,  by  its  old  path.  Either  of  these  inabilities  may  come 
from  a  local  ablation;  and  '  restitution  '  can  then  only  mean 
that,  in  spite  of  a  temporary  block,  an  inrunning  current  has 
at  last  become  enabled  to  flow  out  by  its  old  path  again — 
e.g.,  the  sound  of  '  give  your  paw '  discharges  after  some 

*  Fran9ois-Franck :  op.  cit.  p.  382.    Results  are  somewhat  contradictory. 

t  Pfluger's  Archiv,  vol.  42,  p.  419. 

j  Neurologisches  Centralblatt,  1889,  p.  372. 

§  Op.  cit.  p.  387.  See  pp.  378  to  388  for  a  discussion  of  the  whole 
question.  Compare  also  Wundt's  Physiol.  Psych.,  3d  ed.,  i.  225  ff.,  and 
Luciani  u.  Seppili,  pp.  243,  293. 


FUNCTIONS  OP  THE  BRAIN.  71 

weeks  into  the  same  canine  muscles  into  which  it  used  to 
discharge  before  the  operation.  As  far  as  the  cortex  itself 
goes,  since  one  of  the  purposes  for  which  it  actually  exists 
is  the  production  of  new  paths/  the  only  question  before 
us  is  :  Is  the  formation  of  these  particular  '  vicarious '  paths 
too  much  to  expect  of  its  plastic  powers  ?  It  would  cer 
tainly  be  too  much  to  expect  that  a  hemisphere  should 
receive  currents  from  optic  fibres  whose  arriving -place  with 
in  it  is  destroyed,  or  that  it  should  discharge  into  fibres  of 
the  pyramidal  strand  if  their  place  of  exit  is  broken  down. 
Such  lesions  as  these  must  be  irreparable  ivithin  that 
hemisphere.  Yet  even  then,  through  the  other  hemisphere, 
the  corpus  callosum,  and  the  bilateral  connections  in  the 
spinal  cord,  one  can  imagine  some  road  by  which  the  old 
muscles  might  eventually  be  innervated  by  the  same  in 
coming  currents  which  innervated  them  before  the  block. 
And  for  all  minor  interruptions,  not  involving  the  arriving- 
place  of  the  'cortico-petal'  or  the  place  of  exit  of  the  'cortico- 
fugal '  fibres,  roundabout  paths  of  some  sort  through  the 
affected  hemisphere  itself  must  exist,  for  every  point  of  it 
is,  remotely  at  least,  in  potential  communication  with  every 
other  point.  The  normal  paths  are  only  paths  of  least 
resistance.  If  they  get  blocked  or  cut,  paths  formerly  more 
resistant  become  the  least  resistant  paths  under  the  changed 
conditions.  It  must  never  be  forgotten  that  a  current  that 
runs  in  has  got  to  run  out  somewhere  ;  and  if  it  only  once 
succeeds  by  accident  in  striking  into  its  old  place  of  exit 
again,  the  thrill  of  satisfaction  which  the  consciousness 
connected  with  the  whole  residual  brain  then  receives  wil] 
reinforce  and  fix  the  paths  of  that  moment  and  make  them 
more  likely  to  be  struck  into  again.  The  resultant  feeling 
that  the  old  habitual  act  is  at  last  successfully  back  again, 
becomes  itself  a  new  stimulus  which  stamps  all  the  exist 
ing  currents  in.  It  is  matter  of  experience  that  such  feel 
ings  of  successful  achievement  do  tend  to  fix  in  our  memory 
whatever  processes  have  led  to  them ;  and  we  shall  have 


*  The  Chapters  on  Habit,  Association,  Memory,  and  Perception  will 
change  our  present  preliminary  conjecture  that  that  is  one  of  its  essential 
uses,  into  an  unshakable  conviction. 


72  PSYCHOLOGY. 

a  good  deal  more  to  say  upon  the  subject  when  we  come  to 
the  Chapter  on  the  Will. 

My  conclusion  then  is  this :  that  some  of  the  restitution 
of  function  (especially  where  the  cortical  lesion  is  not  too 
great)  is  probably  due  to  genuinely  vicarious  function  on 
the  p'irt  of  the  centres  that  remain ;  whilst  some  of  it 
is  due  to  the  passing  off  of  inhibitions.  In  other  words, 
both  the  vicarious  theory  and  the  inhibition  theory  are 
true  in  their  measure.  But  as  for  determining  that  measure, 
or  saying  which  centres  are  vicarious,  and  to  what  extent 
they  can  learn  new  tricks,  that  is  impossible  at  present. 

FINAL   CORRECTION   OP   THE   MEYNERT    SCHEME. 

And  now,  after  learning  all  these  facts,  what  are  we  to 
think  of  the  child  and  the  candle-flame,  and  of  that  scheme 
which  provisionally  imposed  itself  on  our  acceptance  after 
surveying  the  actions  of  the  frog  ?  (Cf.  pp.  25-6,  supra.)  It 
will  be  remembered  that  we  then  considered  the  lower  cen 
tres  en  masse  as  machines  for  responding  to  present  sense- 
impressions  exclusively,  and  the  hemispheres  as  equally 
exclusive  organs  oi  action  from  inward  considerations  or 
ideas  ;  and  that,  following  Meynert,  we  supposed  the  hemi 
spheres  to  have  no  native  tendencies  to  determinate  activity, 
but  to  be  merely  superadded  organs  for  breaking  up  the 
various  reflexes  performed  by  the  lower  centres,  and  com 
bining  their  motor  and  sensory  elements  in  novel  ways.  It 
will  also  be  remembered  that  I  prophesied  that  we  should 
be  obliged  to  soften  down  the  sharpness  of  this  distinction 
after  we  had  completed  our  survey  of  the  farther  facts. 
The  time  has  now  come  for  that  correction  to  be  made. 

Wider  and  completer  observations  show  us  both  that  the 
lower  centres  are  more  spontaneous,  and  that  the  hemi 
spheres  are  more  automatic,  than  the  Meynert  scheme 
allows.  Schrader's  observations  in  Goltz's  Laboratory  on 
hemisphereless  frogs*  and  pigeons  f  give  an  idea  quite 
different  from  the  picture  of  these  creatures  which  is 
classically  current.  Steiner's  J  observations  on  frogs 

*  Pfltiger's  Archiv,  vol.  41,  p.  75  (1887).       \lbid.,  vol.  44,  p.  175  (1889) 
%  Untersuchuugeii  liber  die  Physiologic  des  Froschhirns.  1885. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  73 

already  went  a  good  way  in  the  same  direction,  showing, 
for  example,  that  locomotion  is  a  well-developed  function 
of  the  medulla  oblongata.  But  Schrader,  by  great  care 
in  the  operation,  and  by  keeping  the  frogs  a  long  time  alive, 
found  that  at  least  in  some  of  them  the  spinal  cord  would 
produce  movements  of  locomotion  when  the  frog  was 
smartly  roused  by  a  poke,  and  that  swimming  and  croaking 
could  sometimes  be  performed  when  nothing  above  the 
medulla  oblongata  remained.*  Schrader's  hemisphereless 
frogs  moved  spontaneously,  ate  flies,  buried  themselves 
in  the  ground,  and  in  short  did  many  things  which  before 
his  observations  were  supposed  to  be  impossible  unless  the 
hemispheres  remained.  Steinerf  and  Yulpian  have  re 
marked  an  even  greater  vivacity  in  fishes  deprived  of  their 
hemispheres.  Vulpian  says  of  his  brainless  carps:):  that 
three  days  after  the  operation  one  of  them  darted  at  food 
and  at  a  knot  tied  on  the  end  of  a  string,  holding  the  latter  so 
tight  between  his  jaws  that  his  head  was  drawn  out  of 
water.  Later,  "they  see  morsels  of  white  of  egg;  the 
moment  these  sink  through  the  water  in  front  of  them, 
they  follow  and  seize  them,  sometimes  after  they  are  on  the 
bottom,  sometimes  before  they  have  reached  it.  In  captur 
ing  and  swallowing  this  food  they  execute  just  the  same 
movements  as  the  intact  carps  which  are  in  the  same  aqua 
rium.  The  only  difference  is  that  they  seem  to  see  them  at 
less  distance,  seek  them  with  less  impetuosity  and  less  per 
severance  in  all  the  points  of  the  bottom  of  the  aquarium, 
but  they  struggle  (so  to  speak)  sometimes  with  the  sound 
carps  to  grasp  the  morsels.  It  is  certain  that  they  do  not 
confound  these  bits  of  white  of  egg  with  other  white  bodies, 
small  pebbles  for  example,  which  are  at  the  bottom  of  the 
water.  The  same  carp  which,  three  days  after  operation, 
seized  the  knot  on  a  piece  of  string,  no  longer  snaps  at  it 
now,  but  if  one  brings  it  near  her,  she  draws  away  from  it 
by  swimming  backwards  before  it  comes  into  contact  with 


*  LOG.  cit.  pp.  80,  82-3.     Schrader  also  found  a  biting-rettex  developed 
when  the  medulla  oblongata  is  cut  through  just  behind  the  cerebellum, 
f  Berlin  Akad.  Sitzungsberichte  for  1886. 
j  Comptes  Rendus,  vol.  102,  p.  90. 


74  PSYCHOLOGY. 

her  mouth."*  Already  on  pp.  9-10,  as  the  reader  may  re* 
member,  we  instanced  those  adaptations  of  conduct  to  ne^ 
conditions,  on  the  part  of  the  frog's  spinal  cord  and  thalami, 
which  led  Pfliiger  and  Lewes  on  the  one  hand  and  Goltz  on 
the  other  to  locate  in  these  organs  an  intelligence  akin  to 
that  of  which  the  hemispheres  are  the  seat. 

When  it  comes  to  birds  deprived  of  their  hemispheres, 
the  evidence  that  some  of  their  acts  have  conscious  purpose 
behind  them  is  quite  as  persuasive.  In  pigeons  Schrader 
found  that  the  state  of  somnolence  lasted  only  three  or  four 
days,  after  which  time  the  birds  began  indefatigably  to 
walk  about  the  room.  They  climbed  out  of  boxes  in  which 
they  were  put,  jumped  over  or  flew  up  upon  obstacles,  and 
their  sight  was  so  perfect  that  neither  in  walking  nor  flying 
did  they  ever  strike  any  object  in  the  room.  They  had 
also  definite  ends  or  purposes,  flying  straight  for  more 
convenient  perching  places  when  made  uncomfortable  by 
movements  imparted  to  those  on  which  they  stood  ;  and  of 
several  possible  perches  they  always  chose  the  most  con 
venient.  "If  we  give  the  dove  the  choice  of  a  horizontal 
bar  (Recti)  or  an  equally  distant  table  to  fly  to,  she  always 
gives  decided  preference  to  the  table.  Indeed  she  chooses 
the  table  even  if  it  is  several  meters  farther  off  than  the  bar 
or  the  chair."  Placed  on  the  back  of  a  chair,  she  flies  first 
to  the  seat  and  then  to  the  floor,  and  in  general  "  will  for 
sake  a  high  position,  although  it  give  her  sufficiently  firm 
support,  and  in  order  to  reach  the  ground  will  make  use  of 
the  environing  objects  as  intermediate  goals  of  flight,  show 
ing  a  perfectly  correct  judgment  of  their  distance.  Although 
able  to  fly  directly  to  the  ground,  she  prefers  to  make  the 
journey  in  successive  stages.  .  .  .  Once  on  the  ground,  she 
hardly  ever  rises  spontaneously  into  the  air."  f 

Young  rabbits  deprived  of  their  hemispheres  will  stand, 
run,  start  at  noises,  avoid  obstacles  in  their  path,  and  give 
responsive  cries  of  suffering  when  hurt.  Eats  will  do  the 
same,  and  throw  themselves  moreover  into  an  attitude  of 
defence.  Dogs  never  survive  such  an  operation  if  per 
formed  at  once.  But  Goltz's  latest  dog,  mentioned  on  p. 

*  Comptes  Rendus  de  1'Acad.  d.  Sciences,  vol.  102,  p.  1530. 
f  Loc.  cit.  p.  216. 


FUNCTIONS  Of   THE  BRAIN.  75 

70,  which  is  said  to  have  been  kept  alive  for  fifty-one  days 
after  both  hemispheres  had  been  removed  by  a  series  of 
ablations  and  the  corpora  striata  and  thalami  had  softened 
away,  shows  how  much  the  mid-brain  centres  and  the  cord 
can  do  even  in  the  canine  species.  Taken  together,  the 
number  of  reactions  shown  to  exist  in  the  lower  centres  by 
these  observations  make  out  a  pretty  good  case  for  the  Mey- 
nert  scheme,  as  applied  to  these  lower  animals.  That 
scheme  demands  hemispheres  which  shall  be  mere  supple 
ments  or  organs  of  repetition,  and  in  the  light  of  these 
observations  they  obviously  are  so  to  a  great  extent.  But 
the  Meynert  scheme  also  demands  that  the  reactions  of  the 
lower  centres  shall  all  be  native,  and  we  are  not  absolutely 
sure  that  some  of  those  which  we  have  been  considering 
may  not  have  been  acquired  after  the  injury  ;  and  it  further 
more  demands  that  they  should  be  machine-like,  whereas 
the  expression  of  some  of  them  makes  us  doubt  whether 
they  may  not  be  guided  by  an  intelligence  of  low  degree. 

Even  in  the  lower  animals,  then,  there  is  reason  to  soften 
down  that  opposition  between  the  hemispheres  and  the 
lower  centres  which  the  scheme  demands.  The  hemi 
spheres  may,  it  is  true,  only  supplement  the  lower  centres, 
but  the  latter  resemble  the  former  in  nature  and  have 
some  small  amount  at  least  of  '  spontaneity '  and  choice. 

But  when  we  come  to  monkeys  and  man  the  scheme 
well-nigh  breaks  down  altogether;  for  we  find  that  the 
hemispheres  do  not  simply  repeat  voluntarily  actions  which 
the  lower  centres  perform  as  machines.  There  are  many 
functions  which  the  lower  centres  cannot  by  themselves 
perform  at  all.  When  the  motor  cortex  is  injured  in  a  man 
or  a  monkey  genuine  paralysis  ensues,  which  in  man  is 
incurable,  and  almost  or  quite  equally  so  in  the  ape.  Dr. 
Seguin  knew  a  man  with  hemi-blindness,  from  cortical 
injury,  which  had  persisted  unaltered  for  twenty-three 
years.  'Traumatic  inhibition'  cannot  possibly  account 
for  this.  The  blindness  must  have  been  an  '  Ausfallser- 
scheinung,'  due  to  the  loss  of  vision's  essential  organ.  It 
would  seem,  then,  that  in  these  higher  creatures  the  lower 
centres  must  be  less  adequate  than  they  are  farther  down 
in  the  zoological  scale ;  and  that  even  for  certain  elementary 


76  PSYCHOLOGY. 

combinations  of  movement  and  impression  the  co-operation 
of  the  hemispheres  is  necessary  from  the  start.  Even  in 
birds  and  dogs  the  power  of  eating  properly  is  lost  when 
the  frontal  lobes  are  cut  off.* 

The  plain  truth  is  that  neither  in  man  nor  beast  are  the 
hemispheres  the  virgin  organs  which  our  scheme  called 
them.  So  far  from  being  unorganized  at  birth,  they  must 
have  native  tendencies  to  reaction  of  a  determinate  sort.f 
These  are  the  tendencies  which  we  know  as  emotions  and 
instincts,  and  which  we  must  study  with  some  detail  in  later 
chapters  of  this  book.  Both  instincts  and  emotions  are  reac 
tions  upon  special  sorts  of  objects  of  perception;  they  de 
pend  on  the  hemispheres ;  and  they  are  in  the  first  instance 
reflex,  that  is,  they  take  place  the  first  time  the  exciting  ob 
ject  is  met,  are  accompanied  by  no  forethought  or  delibera 
tion,  and  are  irresistible.  But  they  are  modifiable  to  a 
certain  extent  by  experience,  and  on  later  occasions  of 
meeting  the  exciting  object,  the  instincts  especially  have 
less  of  the  blind  impulsive  character  which  they  had  at 
first.  All  this  will  be  explained  at  some  length  in  Chapter 
XXIV.  Meanwhile  we  can  say  that  the  multiplicity  of  emo 
tional  and  instinctive  reactions  in  man,  together  with  his 
extensive  associative  power,  permit  of  extensive  recouplings 
of  the  original  sensory  and  motor  partners.  The  conse 
quences  of  one  instinctive  reaction  often  prove  to  be  the 
inciters  of  an  opposite  reaction,  and  being  suggested  on  later 
occasions  by  the  original  object,  may  then  suppress  the 
first  reaction  altogether,  just  as  in  the  case  of  the  child  and 
the  flame.  For  this  education  the  hemispheres  do  not  need 

*  Goltz:  Ptiflger's  Archiv,  vol.  42,  p.  447  ;  Schrader:  ibid.  vol.  44,  p. 
219  ff .  It  is  possible  that  this  symptom  may  be  an  effect  of  traumatic 
inhibition,  however. 

f  A  few  years  ago  one  of  the  strongest  arguments  for  the  theory  that 
the  hemispheres  are  purely  supernumerary  was  Soltmann's  often-quoted 
observation  that  in  new-born  puppies  the  motor  zone  of  the  cortex  is  not 
excitable  by  electricity  and  only  becomes  so  in  the  course  of  a  fortnight, 
presumably  after  the  experiences  of  the  lower  centres  have  educated  it  to 
motor  duties.  Paneth's  later  observations,  however,  seem  to  show  that 
Soltmann  may  have  been  misled  through  overnarcotizing  his  victims 
(Pfltiger's  Archiv,  vol.  37,  p.  202).  In  the  Neurologisches  Centralblatt 
for  1889,  p.  513,  Bechterew  returns  to  the  subject  on  Soltmann's  side  with 
out,  however,  noticing  Paneth's  work. 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  77 

to  be  tabulae  rasce  at  first,  as  the  Meynert  scheme  would 
have  them  ;  and  so  far  from  their  being  educated  by  the 
lower  centres  exclusively,  they  educate  themselves.* 

We  have  already  noticed  the  absence  of  reactions  from 
fear  and  hunger  in  the  ordinary  brainless  frog.  Schrader 
gives  a  striking  account  of  the  instinctless  condition  of  his 
brainless  pigeons,  active  as  they  were  in  the  way  of  loco 
motion  and  voice.  "  The  hemisphereless  animal  moves  in  a 
world  of  bodies  which  .  .  .  are  all  of  equal,  value  for  him.  .  .  . 
He  is,  to  use  Goltz's  apt  expression,  impersonal  .  .  .  Every 
object  is  for  him  only  a  space-occupying  mass,  he  turns  out 
of  his  path  for  an  ordinary  pigeon  no  otherwise  than  for  a 
stone.  He  may  try  to  climb  over  both.  All  authors  agree 
that  they  never  found  any  difference,  whether  it  was  an  in 
animate  body,  a  cat,  a  dog,  or  a  bird  of  prey  which  came  in 
their  pigeon's  way.  The  creature  knows  neither  friends 
nor  enemies,  in  the  thickest  company  it  lives  like  a  hermit. 
The  languishing  cooing  of  the  male  awakens  no  more  im 
pression  than  the  rattling  of  the  peas,  or  the  call-whistle 
which  in  the  days  before  the  injury  used  to  make  the  birds 
hasten  to  be  fed.  Quite  as  little  as  the  earlier  observers 
have  I  seen  hemisphereless  she-birds  answer  the  courting 
of  the  male.  A  hemisphereless  male  will  coo  all  day  long 
and  show  distinct  signs  of  sexual  excitement,  but  his  activ 
ity  is  without  any  object,  it  is  entirely  indifferent  to  him 
whether  the  she-bird  be  there  or  not.  If  one  is  placed  near 
him,  he  leaves  her  unnoticed.  ...  As  the  male  pays  no  at 
tention  to  the  female,  so  she  pays  none  to  her  young.  The 
brood  may  follow  the  mother  ceaselessly  calling  for  food, 
but  they  might  as  well  ask  it  from  a  stone.  .  .  .  The  hemi- 


*  Milnsterberg  (Die  Willenshaudlung,  1888,  p.  134)  challenges  Meynert's 
scheme  in  toto,  saying  that  whilst  we  have  in  our  personal  experience 
plenty  of  examples  of  acts  which  were  at  first  voluntary  becoming  second 
arily  automatic  and  reflex,  we  have  no  conscious  record  of  a  single  origi 
nally  reflex  act  growing  voluntary. — As  far  as  conscious  record  is  concerned, 
we  could  not  possibly  have  it  even  if  the  Meynert  scheme  were  wholly  true, 
for  the  education  of  the  hemispheres  which  that  schesra  postulates  must 
in  the  nature  of  things  antedate  recollection.  Bit  it  s^oa  to  me  that 
Munsterberg's  rejection  of  the  scheme  may  pcsaibl/  be  correct  as  regards 
reflexes  from  the  lower  centres.  Everywhere  in  this  department  0*  P«v 
chogenesis  we  are  made  to  feel  how  ignorant  wt,  really  an,. 


78  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Bphereless  pigeon  is  in  the  highest  degree  tame,  and  fears 
man  as  little  as  cat  or  bird  of  prey."  * 

Putting  together  now  all  the  facts  and  reflections  which 
we  have  been  through,  it  seems  to  me  that  we  can  no  longer 
hold  strictly  to  the  Meynert  scheme.  If  anywhere,  it  will 
apply  to  the  lowest  animals ;  but  in  them  especially  the 
lower  centres  seem  to  have  a  degree  of  spontaneity  and 
choice.  On  the  whole,  I  think  that  we  are  driven  to  sub 
stitute  for  it  some  such  general  conception  as  the  following, 
which  allows  for  zoological  differences  as  we  know  them, 
and  is  vague  and  elastic  enough  to  receive  any  number  of 
future  discoveries  of  detail. 

CONCLUSION. 

All  the  centres,  in  all  animals,  whilst  they  are  in  one 
aspect  mechanisms,  probably  are,  or  at  least  once  were, 
organs  of  consciousness  in  another,  although  the  conscious 
ness  is  doubtless  much  more  developed  in  the  hemispheres 
than  it  is  anywhere  else.  The  consciousness  must  every 
where  prefer  some  of  the  sensations  which  it  gets  to  others  ; 
and  if  it  can  remember  these  in  their  absence,  however 
dimly,  they  must  be  its  ends  of  desire.  If,  moreover,  it  can 
identify  in  memory  any  motor  discharges  which  may  have 
led  to  such  ends,  and  associate  the  latter  with  them,  then 
these  motor  discharges  themselves  may  in  turn  become 
desired  as  means.  This  is  the  development  of  will ;  and  its 
realization  must  of  course  be  proportional  to  the  possible 
complication  of  the  consciousness.  Even  the  spinal  cord 
may  possibly  have  some  little  power  of  will  in  this  sense, 
and  of  effort  towards  modified  behavior  in  consequence  of 
new  experiences  of  sensibility,  f 

*  Pfltiger's  Archiv,  vol.  44,  p.  230-1. 

f  Naturally,  as  Schiff  long  ago  pointed  out  (Lehrb.  d.  Muskel-u.  Ner« 
venphysiologie,  1859,  p.  213  ff.),the  'Riickenmarksseele,'  if  it  now  exist, 
can  have  no  higher  sense-consciousness,  for  its  incoming  currents  are 
solely  from  the  skin.  But  it  may,  in  its  dim  way,  both  feel,  prefer,  and 
desire.  See,  for  the  view  favorable  to  the  text:  G.  H.  Lewes,  The  Physiol 
ogy  of  Common  Life  (1860),  chap.  ix.  Goltz  (Nervencentren  des  Frosches 
1869,  pp.  102-130)  thinks  that  the  frog's  cord  has  no  adaptative  power.  This 
may  be  the  case  in  such  experiments  as  his,  because  the  beheaded  frog'a 


FUNCTIONS  OF  THE  BRAIN.  79 

All  nervous  centres  have  then  in  the  first  instance  one 
essential  function,  that  of  'intelligent'  action.  They  feel, 
prefer  one  thing  to  another,  and  have  'ends.'  Like  all 
other  organs,  however,  they  evolve  from  ancestor  to  descend 
ant,  and  their  evolution  takes  two  directions,  the  lower 
centres  passing  downwards  into  more  unhesitating  autom 
atism,  and  the  higher  ones  upwards  into  larger  intellectu 
ality.*  Thus  it  may  happen  that  those  functions  which 
can  safely  grow  uniform  and  fatal  become  least  accompanied 
by  mind,  and  that  their  organ,  the  spinal  cord,  becomes  a 
more  and  more  soulless  machine;  whilst  on  the  contrary 
those  functions  which  it  benefits  the  animal  to  have  adapted 
to  delicate  environing  variations  pass  more  and  more  to  the 
hemispheres,  whose  anatomical  structure  and  attendant 
consciousness  grow  more  and  more  elaborate  as  zoological 
evolution  proceeds.  In  this  way  it  might  come  about  that 
in  man  and  the  monkeys  the  basal  ganglia  should  do  fewer 
things  by  themselves  than  they  can  do  in  dogs,  fewer  in  dogs 
than  in  rabbits,  fewer  in  rabbits  than  in  hawks,  f  fewer  in 
hawks  than  in  pigeons,  fewer  in  pigeons  than  in  frogs,  fewer 
in  frogs  than  in  fishes,  and  that  the  hemispheres  should 
correspondingly  do  more.  This  passage  of  functions  for 
ward  to  the  ever-enlarging  hemispheres  would  be  itself  one 
of  the  evolutive  changes,  to  be  explained  like  the  develop 
ment  of  the  hemispheres  themselves,  either  by  fortunate 
variation  or  by  inherited  effects  of  use.  The  reflexes,  on 
this  view,  upon  which  the  education  of  our  human  hemi 
spheres  depends,  would  not  be  due  to  the  basal  ganglia 

short  span  of  life  does  not  give  it  time  to  learn  the  new  tricks  asked  for. 
But  Rosenthal  (Biologisches  Centralblatt,  vol.  iv.  p.  247)  and  Mendelssohn 
(Berlin  Akad.  Sitzuugsberichte,  1885,  p.  107)  in  their  investigations  on  the 
simple  reflexes  of  the  frog's  cord,  show  that  there  is  some  adaptation  to  new 
conditions,  inasmuch  as  when  usual  paths  of  conduction  are  interrupted  by 
a  cut,  new  paths  are  taken.  According  to  Rosenthal,  these  grow  more 
pervious  (i.e.  require  a  smaller  stimulus)  in  proportion  as  they  are  more 
often  traversed. 

*  Whether  this  evolution  takes  place  through  the  inheritance  of  habits 
acquired,  or  through  the  preservation  of  lucky  variations,  is  an  alternative 
which  we  need  not  discuss  here.  We  shall  consider  it  in  the  last  chapter 
in  the  book.  For  our  present  purpose  the  modus  operandi  of  the  evolution 
makes  no  difference,  provided  it  be  admitted  to  occur. 

f  See  Schrader's  Observations,  loc.  cit. 


80  PSYCHOLOGY. 

alone.  They  would  be  tendencies  in  the  hemispheres  them* 
selves,  modifiable  by  education,  unlike  the  reflexes  of  the 
medulla  oblongata,  pons,  optic  lobes  and  spinal  cord.  Such 
cerebral  reflexes,  if  they  exist,  form  a  basis  quite  as  good 
as  that  which  the  Meynert  scheme  offers,  for  the  acquisition 
of  memories  and  associations  which  may  later  result  in  all 
sorts  of  '  changes  of  partners '  in  the  psychic  world.  The 
diagram  of  the  baby  and  the  candle  (see  page  25)  can  be 
re-edited,  if  need  be,  as  an  entirely  cortical  transaction. 
The  original  tendency  to  touch  will  be  a  cortical  instinct ; 
the  burn  will  leave  an  image  in  another  part  of  the  cortex, 
which,  being  recalled  by  association,  will  inhibit  the  touch 
ing  tendency  the  next  time  the  candle  is  perceived,  and 
excite  the  tendency  to  withdraw — so  that  the  retinal  picture 
will,  upon  that  next  time,  be  coupled  with  the  original 
motor  partner  of  the  pain.  We  thus  get  whatever  psycho 
logical  truth  the  Meynert  scheme  possesses  without  en 
tangling  ourselves  on  a  dubious  anatomy  and  physiology. 

Some  such  shadowy  view  of  the  evolution  of  the  centres, 
of  the  relation  of  consciousness  to  them,  and  of  the  hemi 
spheres  to  the  other  lobes,  is,  it  seems  to  me,  that  in  which 
it  is  safest  to  indulge.  If  it  has  no  other  advantage,  it  at 
any  rate  makes  us  realize  how  enormous  are  the  gaps  in  our 
knowledge,  the  moment  we  try  to  cover  the  facts  by  any 
one  formula  of  a  general  kind. 


CHAPTER  III. 
ON   SOME   GENERAL   CONDITIONS   OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY. 

THE  elementary  properties  of  nerve-tissue  on  which 
the  brain-functions  depend  are  far  from  being  satisfactorily 
made  out.  The  scheme  that  suggests  itself  in  the  first 
instance  to  the  mind,  because  it  is  so  obvious,  is  certainly 
false:  I  mean  the  notion  that  each  cell  stands  for  an  idea 
or  part  of  an  idea,  and  that  the  ideas  are  associated  or 
'bound  into  bundles'  (to  use  a  phrase  of  Locke's)  by  the 
fibres.  If  we  make  a  symbolic  diagram  on  a  blackboard, 
of  the  laws  of  association  between  ideas,  we  are  inevitably 
led  to  draw  circles,  or  closed  figures  of  some  kind,  and  to 
connect  them  by  lines.  When  we  hear  that  the  nerve-cen 
tres  contain  cells  which  send  off  fibres,  we  say  that  Nature 
has  realized  our  diagram  for  us,  and  that  the  mechanical 
substratum  of  thought  is  plain.  In  some  way,  it  is  true,  oui 
diagram  must  be  realized  in  the  brain ;  but  surely  in  no 
such  visible  and  palpable  way  as  we  at  first  suppose.*  An 
enormous  number  of  the  cellular  bodies  in  the  hemispheres 
are  fibreless.  Where  fibres  are  sent  off  they  soon  divide  into 
untraceable  ramifications  ;  and  nowhere  do  we  see  a  simple 
coarse  anatomical  connection,  like  a  line  on  the  black 
board,  between  two  cells.  Too  much  anatomy  has  been 
found  to  order  for  theoretic  purposes,  even  by  the  anat 
omists  ;  and  the  popular-science  notions  of  cells  and  fibres 
are  almost  wholly  wide  of  the  truth.  Let  us  therefore  rele 
gate  the  subject  of  the  intimate  workings  of  the  brain  to 


*  I  shall  myself  in  later  places  indulge  in  much  of  this  schematization. 
The  reader  will  understand  once  for  all  that  it  is  symbolic;  and  that  the 
use  of  it  is  hardly  more  than  to  show  what  a  deep  congruity  there  is  between 
mental  processes  and  mechanical  processes  of  some  kind,  not  necessarily  p* 
the  exact  kind  portrayed. 

81 


82  PSYCHOLOGY. 

the  physiology  of  the  future,  save  in  respect  to  a  few  points 
of  which  a  word  must  now  be  said.  And  first  of 

THE   SUMMATION   OF   STIMULI 

in  the  same  nerve-tract.  This  is  a  property  extremely  im 
portant  for  the  understanding  of  a  great  many  phenomena 
of  the  neural,  and  consequently  of  the  mental,  life ;  and  it 
behooves  us  to  gain  a  clear  conception  of  what  it  means  be 
fore  we  proceed  any  farther. 

The  law  is  this,  that  a  stimuli^  which  itiould  be  inadequate  by 
itself  to  excite  a  nerve-centre  to  effective  discharge  may,  by  acting 
ivith  one  or  more  other  stimuli  (equally  ineffectual  by  themselves 
alone)  bring  the  discharge  about.  The  natural  way  to  con 
sider  this  is  as  a  summation  of  tensions  which  at  last  over 
come  a  resistance.  The  first  of  them  produce  a  'latent 
excitement '  or  a  '  heightened  irritability ' — the  phrase  is 
immaterial  so  far  as  practical  consequences  go ;  the  last  is 
the  straw  which  breaks  the  camel's  back.  Where  the 
neural  process  is  one  that  has  consciousness  for  its  accom 
paniment,  the  final  explosion  would  in  all  cases  seem  to 
involve  a  vivid  state  of  feeling  of  a  more  or  less  substantive 
kind.  But  there  is  no  ground  for  supposing  that  the  ten 
sions  whilst  yet  submaximal  or  outwardly  ineffective,  may 
not  also  have  a  share  in  determining  the  total  conscious 
ness  present  in  the  individual  at  the  time.  In  later 
chapters  we  shall  see  abundant  reason  to  suppose  that  they 
do  have  such  a  share,  and  that  without  their  contribution 
the  fringe  of  relations  which  is  at  every  moment  a  vital  in 
gredient  of  the  mind's  object,  would  not  come  to  conscious 
ness  at  all. 

The  subject  belongs  too  much  to  physiology  for  the 
evidence  to  be  cited  in  detail  in  these  pages.  I  will  throw 
into  a  note  a  few  references  for  such  readers  as  may  be  in> 
terested  in  following  it  out,*  and  simply  say  that  the  direct 
*  Valentin:  Archiv  f.  d.  gesanimt.  Physiol.,  1873,  p.  458.  Stirling: 
Leipzig  Acad.  Berichte,  1875,  p.  372  (Journal  of  Physiol.,  1875).  J 
Ward :  Archiv  f.  (Anut.  u.)  Physiol.,  1880,  p.  72.  H.  Sewall :  Johns 
Hopkins  Studies,  1880,  p.  30.  Kronecker  u.  Nicolaides :  Archiv  f. 
(Anat.  u.)  Physiol.,  1880,  p.  437.  Exner :  Archiv  f.  die  ges.  Physiol.,  Bd. 
28,  p.  487  (1882).  Eckhard  :  in  Hermann's  Hdbch.  d.  Physiol.,  Bd.  i/Thl.' 
u.  p.  31.  Frangors-Franck  :  Lecons  sur  les  Fonctions  tuotrices  du  Cer- 


GENERAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY.  83 

electrical  irritation  of  the  cortical  centres  sufficiently  proves 
the  point.  For  it  was  found  by  the  earliest  experimenters 
here  that  whereas  it  takes  an  exceedingly  strong  current 
to  produce  any  movement  when  a  single  induction-shock 
is  used,  a  rapid  succession  of  induction-shocks  ('  faradiza 
tion  ')  will  produce  movements  when  the  current  is  com 
paratively  weak.  A  single  quotation  from  an  excellent 
investigation  will  exhibit  this  law  under  further  aspects : 

"  If  wo  continue  to  stimulate  the  cortex  at  short  intervals  with  the 
strength  of  current  which  produces  the  minimal  muscular  contrac 
tion  [of  the  dog's  digital  extensor  muscle],  the  amount  of  contraction 
gradually  increases  till  it  reaches  the  maximum.  Each  earlier  stimula 
tion  leaves  thus  an  effect  behind  it,  which  increases  the  efficacy  of  the 
following  one.  In  this  summation  of  the  stimuli  ....  the  following 
points  may  be  noted  :  1)  Single  stimuli  entirely  inefficacious  when 
alone  may  become  efficacious  by  sufficiently  rapid  reiteration.  If  the 
current  used  is  very  much  less  than  that  which  provokes  the  first  begin 
ning  of  contraction,  a  very  large  number  of  successive  shocks  may  be 
needed  before  the  movement  appears — 20,  50,  once  106  shocks  were 
needed.  2)  The  summation  takes  place  easily  in  proportion  to  the 
shortness  of  the  interval  between  the  stimuli.  A  current  too  weak  to 
give  effective  summation  when  its  shocks  are  3  seconds  apart  will  be 
capable  of  so  doing  when  the  interval  is  shortened  to  1  second.  3) 
Not  only  electrical  irritation  leaves  a  modification  which  goes  to  swell 
the  following  stimulus,  but  every  sort  of  irritant  which  can  produce  a 
contraction  does  so.  If  in  any  way  a  reflex  contraction  of  the  muscle 
experimented  on  has  been  produced,  or  if  it  is  contracted  spontaneously 
by  the  animal  (as  not  unfrequently  happens  'by  sympathy,'  during  a 
deep  inspiration),  it  is  found  that  an  electrical  stimulus,  until  then 
inoperative,  operates  energetically  if  immediately  applied."  * 

Furthermore  : 

"In  a  certain  stage  of  the  morphia-narcosis  an  ineffectively  weak 
shock  will  become  powerfully  effective,  if,  immediately  before  its  appli- 

veau,  p.  51  ft'.,  339.— For  the  process  of  summation  in  nerves  and  muscles, 
cf.  Hermann:  ibid.  Thl.  i.  p.  109,  and  vol.  i.  p.  40.  Also  Wundt: 
Physiol.  Psych. ,  i.  243  ff . ;  Ricliet  :  Travaux  du  Laboratoire  de  Marey,  1877, 
p.  97  ;  L'Homme  et  1'Intelligence,  pp.  24  ff.,  468 ;  Revue  Philosophique, 
t.  xxi.  p.  564.  Kronecker  u.  Hall:  Archiv  f.  (Anat.  u.)  Physiol.,  1879; 
Schoulein :  ibid.  1882,  p.  357.  Sertoli  (Hofinann  and  Schwalbe's  Jahres- 
bericht,  1882.  p.  25.  De  Watteville :  Neurologisches  Ceutralblatt,  1883, 
No.  7.  Grilnhagen  :  Arch.  f.  d.  ges.  Physiol.,  Bd.  34,  p.  301  (1884). 

*Bubnoff  und  Heidenhain  :  UeberErreguugs-  uncl  Hemmmigsvorgauge 
innerhalb  der  motorisclieii  Hirucentren.  Archiv  f.  d.  ges.  Physiol.,  Bd. 
26,  p.  156(1881). 


84  PSYCHOLOGY. 

cation  to  the  motor  centre,  the  skin  of  certain  parts  of  the  body  is 
exposed  to  gentle  tactile  stimulation.  ...  If,  having  ascertained  the 
subminimal  strength  of  current  and  convinced  one's  self  repeatedly  of  its 
inefficacy,  we  draw  our  hand  a  single  time  lightly  over  the  skin  of  the 
paw  whose  cortical  centre  is  the  object  of  stimulation,  we  find  the  cur 
rent  at  once  strongly  effective.  The  increase  of  irritability  lasts  some 
seconds  before  it  disappears.  Sometimes  th  3  effect  of  a  single  light 
stroking  of  the  paw  is  only  sufficient  to  make  the  previously  ineffectual 
current  produce  a  very  weak  contraction.  Repeating  the  tactile  stimu 
lation  will  then,  as  a  rule,  increase  the  contraction's  extent."  * 

We  constantly  use  the  summation  of  stimuli  in  our 
practical  appeals.  If  a  car-horse  balks,  the  final  way  of 
starting  him  is  by  applying  a  number  of  customary  incite 
ments  at  once.  If  the  driver  uses  reins  and  voice,  if  one 
bystander  pulls  at  his  head,  another  lashes  his  hind 
quarters,  and  the  conductor  rings  the  bell,  and  the  dis 
mounted  passengers  shove  the  car,  all  at  the  same  moment, 
his  obstinacy  generally  yields,  and  he  goes  on  his  way  re 
joicing.  If  we  are  striving  to  remember  a  lost  name  or  fact, 
we  think  of  as  many  '  cues  '  as  possible,  so  that  by  their 
joint  action  they  may  recall  what  no  one  of  them  can  recall 
alone.  The  sight  of  a  dead  prey  will  often  not  stimulate  a 
beast  to  pursuit,  but  if  the  sight  of  movement  be  added  to 
that  of  form,  pursuit  occurs.  "  Briicke  noted  that  his  brain 
less  hen,  which  made  no  attempt  to  peck  at  the  grain  under 
her  very  eyes,  began  pecking  if  the  grain  were  thrown  on 
the  ground  with  force,  so  as  to  produce  a  rattling  sound."  t 
"Dr.  Allen  Thomson  hatched  out  some  chickens  on  a  carpet, 
where  he  kept  them  for  several  days.  They  showed  no  in 
clination  to  scrape,  .  .  .  but  when  Dr.  Thomson  sprinkled 
a  little  gravel  on  the  carpet,  .  .  .  the  chickens  immediately 
began  their  scraping  movements."  J  A  strange  person,  and 
darkness,  are  both  of  them  stimuli  to  fear  and  mistrust  in 
dogs  (and  for  the  matter  of  that,  in  men).  Neither  circum- 


*  Archiv  f.  d.  ges.  Physiol.,  Bd.  26,  p.  176  (1881).  Exner  thinks  (ibid. 
Bd.  28,  p.  497  (1882)  )  that  the  summation  here  occurs  in  the  spinal  cord. 
It  makes  no  difference  where  this  particular  summation  occurs,  so  far  as 
the  general  philosophy  of  summation  ?oes. 

f  G  H.  Lewes  :  Physical  Basis  of  Mind,  p.  479,  where  many  similar 
examples  are  given,  487-9. 

t  Romanes  :  Mental  Evolution  In  Animals,  p.  168. 


GENERAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN- ACTIVITY.          85 

stance  alone  may  awaken  outward  manifestations,  but  to 
gether,  i.e.  when  the  strange  man  is  met  in  the  dark,  the  dog 
will  be  excited  to  violent  defiance.  *  Street-hawkers  well 
know  the  efficacy  of  summation,  for  they  arrange  themselves 
in  a  line  upon  the  sidewalk,  and  the  passer  often  buys  from 
the  last  one  of  them,  through  the  effect  of  the  reiterated  so 
licitation,  what  he  refused  to  buy  from  the  first  in  tne  row. 
Aphasia  shows  many  examples  of  summation.  A  patient 
who  cannot  name  an  object  simply  shown  him,  will  name  it 
if  he  touches  as  well  as  sees  it,  etc. 

Instances  of  summation  might  be  multiplied  indefinitely, 
but  it  is  hardly  worth  while  to  forestall  subsequent  chapters. 
Those  on  Instinct,  the  Stream  of  Thought,  Attention,  Dis 
crimination,  Association,  Memory,  ^Esthetics,  and  Will,  will 
contain  numerous  exemplifications  of  the  reach  of  the  prin 
ciple  in  the  purely  psychological  field. 

REACTION-TIME. 

One  of  the  lines  of  experimental  investigation  most 
diligently  followed  of  late  years  is  that  of  the  ascertain 
ment  of  the  time  occupied  by  nervous  events.  Helmholtz  led 
off  by  discovering  the  rapidity  of  the  current  in  the  sciatic 
nerve  of  the  frog.  But  the  methods  he  used  were  soon 
applied  to  the  sensory  nerves  and  the  centres,  and  the 
results  caused  much  popular  scientific  admiration  when 
described  as  measurements  of  the  '  velocity  of  thought.' 
The  phrase  '  quick  as  thought '  had  from  time  immemorial 
signified  all  that  was  wonderful  and  elusive  of  determina 
tion  in  the  line  of  speed ;  and  the  way  in  which  Science 
laid  her  doomful  hand  upon  this  mystery  reminded  people 
of  the  day  when  Franklin  first  '  eripuit  ccelo  fulmen,'  fore- 

*  See  a  similar  instance  in  Mach  :  Beitrage  zur  Analyse  der  Empfin- 
dungen,  p.  36,  a  sparrow  being  the  animal.  My  young  children  are  afraid 
of  their  own  pug-dog,  if  he  enters  their  room  after  they  are  in  bed  and  the 
lights  are  out.  Compare  this  statement  also  :  "  The  first  question  to  a 
peasant  seldom  proves  more  than  a  flapper  to  rouse  the  torpid  adjustments 
of  his  ears.  The  invariable  answer  of  a  Scottish  peasant  is,  'What's  your 
wull?  ' — that  of  the  English,  a  vacant  stare.  A  second  and  even  a  third 
question  may  be  required  to  elicit  an  answer."  (R.  Fowler:  Some  Obser 
vations  on  the  Mental  State  of  the  Blind,  and  Deaf,  and  Dumb  (Salisbury, 
1843),  p.  14.) 


86  PSYCHOLOGY. 

shadowing  the  reign  of  a  newer  and  colder  race  of  gods, 
We  shall  take  up  the  various  operations  measured,  each  in 
the  chapter  to  which  it  more  naturally  pertains.  I  may 
say,  however,  immediately,  that  the  phrase  '  velocity  of 
thought '  is  misleading,  for  it  is  by  no  means  clear  in  any 
of  the  cases  what  particular  act  of  thought  occurs  during 
the  time  which  is  measured.  '  Velocity  of  nerve-action  '  is 
liable  to  the  same  criticism,  for  in  most  cases  we  do  not  know 
what  particular  nerve-processes  occur.  What  the  times 
in  question  really  represent  is  the  total  duration  of  certain 
reactions  upon  stimuli.  Certain  of  the  conditions  of  the  reac 
tion  are  prepared  beforehand ;  they  consist  in  the  assump 
tion  of  those  motor  and  sensory  tensions  which  we  name 
the  expectant  state.  Just  what  happens  during  the  actual 
time  occupied  by  the  reaction  (in  other  words,  just  what 
is  added  to  the  pre-existent  tensions  to  produce  the  actual 
discharge)  is  not  made  out  at  present,  either  from  the 
neural  or  from  the  mental  point  of  view. 

The  method  is  essentially  the  same  in  all  these  investiga 
tions.  A  signal  of  some  sort  is  communicated  to  the  subject, 
and  at  the  same  instant  records  itself  on  a  time-register 
ing  apparatus.  The  subject  then  makes  a  muscular  move 
ment  of  some  sort,  which  is  the  *  reaction,'  and  which  also 
records  itself  automatically.  The  time  found  to  have  elapsed 
between  the  two  records  is  the  total  time  of  that  observation. 
The  time-registering  instruments  are  of  various  types. 

Signal.  Reaction. 


J         I 


Reaction-  line 
Time-line. 


FIG.  21. 


One  type  is  that  of  the  revolving  drum  covered  with  smoLed 
paper,  on  which  one  electric  pen  traces  a  line  which  the 
signal  breaks  and  the  ( reaction '  draws  again ;  whilst  another 
electric  pen  (connected  with  a  pendulum  or  a  rod  of  metal 
vibrating  at  a  known  rate)  traces  alongside  of  the  former 


GENERAL  CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN- ACTIVITY.  87 

line  a  '  time-line '  of  which  each  undulation  or  link  stands 
for  a  certain  fraction  of  a  second,  and  against  which  the 
break  in  the  reaction-line  can  be  measured.  Compare 
Fig.  21,  where  the  line  is  broken  by  the  signal  at  the  first 
arrow,  and  continued  again  by  the  reaction  at  the  second. 
Ludwig's  Kymograph,  Marey's  Chronograph  are  good  ex 
amples  of  this  type  of  instrument. 

Another  type  of  instrument  is  represented  by  the  stop 
watch,  of  which  the  most  perfect  form  is  Hipp's  Chrono- 
scope.  The  hand  on  the  dial  measures  intervals  as  short 
as  j-fas  of  a  second.  The  signal  (by  an  appropriate  electric 


FIG.  2-2.— Bowditeh's  Reaction-timer.  F,  tuning-fork  carrying  a  little  plate  which 
holds  the  paper  on  which  the  electric  pen  M  makes  the  tracing,  and  sliding  in 
grooves  on  the  base-board.  P,  a  plug  which  spreads  the  prongs  of  the  fork  apart 
when  it  is  pushed  forward  to  its  extreme  limit,  and  releases  them  when  it  is  drawn 
back  to  a  certain  point.  The  fork  then  vibrates,  and,  its  backward  movement  con 
tinuing,  an  undulating  line  is  drawn  on  the  smoked  paper  by  the  pen.  At  T  is  a 
tongue  fixed  to  the  carriage  of  the  fork,  and  at  K  an  electric  key  which  the  tongue 
opens  and  with  which  the  electric  pen  is  connected.  At  the  instant  of  opening,  the 
t>en  changes  its  place  and  the  undulating  line  is  drawn  at  a  different  level  on  the 
paper.  The  opening  can  be  made  to  serve  as  a  signal  to  the  reacter  in  a  variety 
of  ways,  and  his  reaction  can  be  made  to  close  the  pen  again,  when  the  line  re 
turns  to  its  first  level.  The  reaction  time  =  the  number  of  undulations  traced  at 
the  second  level. 

connection)  starts  it ;  the  reaction  stops  it ;  and  by  reading 
off  its  initial  and  terminal  positions  we  have  immediately 
and  with  no  farther  trouble  the  time  we  seek.  A  still 
simpler  instrument,  though  one  not  very  satisfactory  in  its 
working,  is  the  '  psychodometer '  of  Exner  &  Obersteiner, 
of  which  I  picture  a  modification  devised  by  my  colleague 
Professor  H.  P.  Bowditch,  which  works  very  well. 

The  manner  in  which  the  signal  and  reaction  are  con 
nected  with  the  chronographic  apparatus  varies  indefinitely 


88  PSYCHOLOGY. 

in  different  experiments.  Every  new  problem  requires 
some  new  electric  or  mechanical  disposition  of  apparatus.* 

The  least  complicated  time-measurement  is  that  known 
as  simple  reaction-time,  in  which  there  is  but  one  possible 
signal  and  one  possible  movement,  and  both  are  known  in 
advance.  The  movement  is  generally  the  closing  of  an  elec 
tric  key  with  the  hand.  The  foot,  the  jaw,  the  lips,  even 
the  eyelid,  have  been  in  turn  made  organs  of  reaction,  and 
the  apparatus  has  been  modified  accordingly,  f  The  time 
usually  elapsing  between  stimulus  and  movement  lies  be 
tween  one  and  three  tenths  of  a  second,  varying  according 
to  circumstances  which  will  be  mentioned  anon. 

The  subject  of  experiment,  whenever  the  reactions  are 
short  and  regular,  is  in  a  state  of  extreme  tension,  and  feels, 
when  the  signal  comes,  as  if  it  started  the  reaction,  by  a 
sort  of  fatality,  and  as  if  no  psychic  process  of  perception 
or  volition  had  a  chance  to  intervene.  The  whole  succession 
is  so  rapid  that  perception  seems  to  be  retrospective,  and 
the  time-order  of  events  to  be  read  off  in  memory  rather 
than  known  at  the  moment.  This  at  least  is  my  own  per 
sonal  experience  in  the  matter,  and  with  it  I  find  others  to 
agree.  The  question  is,  What  happens  inside  of  us,  either 
in  brain  or  mind  ?  and  to  answer  that  we  must  analyze  just 
what  processes  the  reaction  involves.  It  is  evident  that 
some  time  is  lost  in  each  of  the  following  stages  : 

1.  The   stimulus   excites    the    peripheral    sense-organ 
adequately  for  a  current  to  pass  into  the  sensory  nerve ; 

2.  The  sensory  nerve  is  traversed  ; 

3.  The  transformation  (or  reflection)  of  the  sensory  into 
a  motor  current  occurs  in  the  centres ; 

4.  The  spinal  cord  and  motor  nerve  are  traversed  ; 

5.  The  motor  current  excites  the  muscle  to  the  contract 
ing  point. 

*  The  reader  will  find  a  great  deal  about  chronographic  apparatus  in 
J.  Marey :  La  Methode  Grapbique,  pt.  n.  chap.  n.  One  can  make  pretty 
fair  measurements  with  no  other  instrument  than  a  watch,  by  making  a 
large  number  of  reactions,  each  serving  as  a  signal  for  the  following  one, 
and  dividing  the  total  time  they  take  by  their  number.  Dr.  O.  W.  Holmes 
first  suggested  this  method,  which  has  been  ingeniously  elaborated  and 
applied  by  Professor  Jastrow.  See  Science '  for  September  10.  1886. 

I  See,  for  a  few  modifications,  Cattell,  Mind,  xi.  220  ff. 


GENERAL  CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY.          89 

Time  is  also  lost,  of  course,  outside  the  muscle,  in  the 
joints,  skin,  etc.,  and  between  the  parts  of  the  apparatus ; 
and  when  the  stimulus  which  serves  as  signal  is  applied  to 
the  skin  of  the  trunk  or  limbs,  time  is  lost  in  the  sensorial 
conduction  through  the  spinal  cord. 

The  stage  marked  3  is  the  only  one  that  interests  us 
here.  The  other  stages  answer  to  purely  physiological 
processes,  but  stage  3  is  psycho-physical ;  that  is,  it  is  a 
higher-central  process,  and  has  probably  some  sort  of  con 
sciousness  accompanying  it.  What  sort? 

Wundt  has  little  difficulty  in  deciding  that  it  is  con 
sciousness  of  a  quite  elaborate  kind.  He  distinguishes 
between  two  stages  in  the  conscious  reception  of  an  im 
pression,  calling  one  perception,  and  the  other  apperception, 
and  likening  the  one  to  the  mere  entrance  of  an  object  into 
the  periphery  of  the  field  of  vision,  and  the  other  to  its 
coming  to  occupy  the  focus  or  point  of  view.  Inattentive 
aivareness  of  an  object,  and  attention  to  it,  are,  it  seems  to 
me,  equivalents  for  perception  and  apperception,  as  Wundt 
uses  the  words.  To  these  two  forms  of  awareness  of  the 
impression  Wundt  adds  the  conscious  volition  to  react, 
gives  to  the  trio  the  name  of  '  psycho-physical '  processes, 
and  assumes  that  they  actually  follow  upon  each  other  in 
the  succession  in  which  they  have  been  named.  *  So  at 
least  I  understand  him.  The  simplest  way  to  determine 
the  time  taken  up  by  this  psycho-physical  stage  No.  3 
would  be  to  determine  separately  the  duration  of  the  sev 
eral  purely  physical  processes,  1,  2,  4,  and  5,  and  to  sub 
tract  them  from  the  total  reaction-time.  Such  attempts 
have  been  made,  t  But  the  data  for  calculation  are  too 

*  Physiol.  Psych.,  n.  221-2.  Cf.  also  the  first  edition,  728-9.  I  must 
confess  to  finding  all  Wundt's  utterances  about  'apperception  '  both  vacil 
lating  and  obscure.  I  see  no  use  whatever  for  the  word,  as  he  employs  it, 
in  Psychology.  Attention,  perception,  conception,  volition,  are  its  ample 
equivalents.  Why  we  should  need  a  single  word  to  denote  all  these  things 
by  turns,  Wundt  fails  to  make  clear.  Consult,  however,  his  pupil  Staude's 
article,  '  Ueber  den  Begriff  der  Apperception,'  etc.,  in  Wundt's  periodical 
Philosophische  Studien,  i.  149,  which  may  be  supposed  official.  For  a 
minute  criticism  of  Wundt's  'apperception,'  see  Marty.  Vierteljahrschrift 
f.  wiss.  Philos. ,  x.  346. 

f  By  Exner,  for  example,  Pfluger's  Archiv,  vn.  628  ff. 


90  PSYCHOLOGY. 

inaccurate  for  use,  and,  as  Wundt  himself  admits,  *  the  pre 
cise  duration  of  stage  3  must  at  present  be  left  enveloped 
with  that  of  the  other  processes,  in  the  total  reaction-time. 
My  own  belief  is  that  no  such  succession  of  conscious 
feelings  as  Wundt  describes  takes  place  during  stage  3. 
It  is  a  process  of  central  excitement  and  discharge,  with 
which  doubtless  some  feeling  coexists,  but  ivhat  feeling  we 
cannot  tell,  because  it  is  so  fugitive  and  so  immediately 
eclipsed  by  the  more  substantive  and  enduring  memory  of 
the  impression  as  it  came  in,  and  of  the  executed  move 
ment  of  response.  Feeling  of  the  impression,  attention  to 
it,  thought  of  the  reaction,  volition  to  react,  ivould,  undoubt 
edly,  all  be  links  of  the  process  under  other  conditions, f  and 
would  lead  to  the  same  reaction — after  an  indefinitely  longer 
time.  But  these  other  conditions  are  not  those  of  the 
experiments  we  are  discussing ;  and  it  is  mythological  psy 
chology  (of  which  we  shall  see  many  later  examples)  to  con 
clude  that  because  two  mental  processes  lead  to  the  same 
result  they  must  be  similar  in  their  inward  subjective  con 
stitution.  The  feeling  of  stage  3  is  certainly  no  articulate 
perception.  It  can  be  nothing  but  the  mere  sense  of  a 
reflex  discharge.  The  reaction  ivhose  time  is  measured  is, 
in  short,  a  reflex  action  pure  and  simple,  and  not  a  psychic 
act.  A  foregoing  psychic  condition  is,  it  is  true,  a  pre 
requisite  for  this  reflex  action.  The  preparation  of  the 
attention  and  volition  ;  the  expectation  of  the  signal  and 
the  readiness  of  the  hand  to  move,  the  instant  it  shall  come ; 
the  nervous  tension  in  which  the  subject  waits,  are  all  con 
ditions  of  the  formation  in  him  for  the  time  being  of  a  new 
path  or  arc  of  reflex  discharge.  The  tract  from  the  sense- 
organ  which  receives  the  stimulus,  into  the  motor  centre 
which  discharges  the  reaction,  is  already  tingling  with  pre 
monitory  innervation,  is  raised  to  such  a  pitch  of  heightened 
irritability  by  the  expectant  attention,  that  the  signal  is 
instantaneously  sufficient  to  cause  the  overflow.^  No  other 
*  P.  222.  Cf.  also  Riohet,  Rev.  Philos.,  vi.  395-6.  ~ 
t  For  instance,  if,  on  the  previous  day,  one  had  resolved  to  act  on  a 
signal  when  it  should  come,  and  it  now  came  whilst  we  were  engaged  in 
other  things,  and  reminded  us  of  the  resolve. 

£  "  I  need  hardly  mention  that  success  in  these  experiments  depends  in 
a  high  degree  on  our  concentration  of  attention.     If  inattentive,  one  gets 


GENEEAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY.  91 

tract  of  the  nervous  system  is,  at  the  moment,  in  this  hair- 
trigger  condition.  The  consequence  is  that  one  sometimes 
responds  to  a  ivrong  signal,  especially  if  it  be  an  impression 
of  the  same  kind  with  the  signal  we  expect.*  But  if  by 
chance  we  are  tired,  or  the  signal  is  unexpectedly  weak, 
and  we  do  not  react  instantly,  but  only  after  an  express 
perception  that  the  signal  has  come,  and  an  express  voli 
tion,  the  time  becomes  quite  disproportionately  long  (a 
second  or  more,  according  to  Exner  t),  and  we  feel  that  the 
process  is  in  nature  altogether  different. 

In  fact,  the  reaction-time  experiments  are  a  case  to 
which  we  can  immediately  apply  what  we  have  just  learned 
about  the  summation  of  stimuli.  '  Expectant  attention '  is 
but  the  subjective  name  for  what  objectively  is  a  partial 
stimulation  of  a  certain  pathway,  the  pathway  from  the 
4  centre '  for  the  signal  to  that  for  the  discharge.  In  Chapter 
XI  we  shall  see  that  all  attention  involves  excitement  from 
within  of  the  tract  concerned  in  feeling  the  objects  to  which 
attention  is  given.  The  tract  here  is  the  excito-motor  arc 
about  to  be  traversed.  The  signal  is  but  the  spark  from 
without  which  touches  off  a  train  already  laid.  The  per 
formance,  under  these  conditions,  exactly  resembles  any 
reflex  action.  The  only  difference  is  that  whilst,  in  the 
ordinarily  so-called  reflex  acts,  the  reflex  arc  is  a  permanent 
result  of  organic  growth,  it  is  here  a  transient  result  of 
previous  cerebral  conditions.  ;£ 

very  discrepant  figures.  .  .  .  This  concentration  of  the  attention  is  in  the 
highest  degree  exhausting.  After  some  experiments  in  which  I  was  con 
cerned  to  get  results  as  uniform  as  possible,  I  was  covered  witli  perspiration 
and  excessively  fatigued  although  I  had  sat  quietly  in  my  chair  all  the 
while."  (Exner,  loc.  cit.  vn.  618.) 

*  Wundt,  Physiol.  Psych.,  n.  226. 

f  Pfliiger's  Archiv,  vn.  616. 

\  In  short,  what  M.  Delboeuf  calls  an  'organe  adventice.'  The  reaction- 
time,  moreover,  is  quite  compatible  with  the  reaction  itself  being  of  a  reflex 
order.  Some  reflexes  (sneezing,  e.g.)  are  very  slow.  The  only  time- 
measurement  of  a  reflex  act  in  the  human  subject  with  which  I  am 
acquainted  is  Exner's  measurement  of  winking  (in  Pfliiger's  Archiv  f. 
d.  gesammt.  Physiol.,  Bd.  vui.  p.  526,  1874).  He  found  that  when  the 
stimulus  was  a  flash  of  light  it  took  the  wink  0.2168  sec.  to  occur.  A  strong 
electric  shock  to  the  cornea  shortened  the  time  to  0.0578  sec.  The  ordinary 
'  reaction-time  '  is  midway  between  these  values.  Exuer  '  reduces  '  his  times 
by  eliminating  the  physiological  process  of  conduction.  His  'reduced 


92  PSYCHOLOGY. 

I  am  happy  to  say  that  since  the  preceding  paragraphs 
(and  the  notes  thereto  appertaining)  were  written,  Wundt 
has  himself  become  converted  to  the  view  which  I  defend. 
He  now  admits  that  in  the  shortest  reactions  "there  is 
neither  apperception  nor  will,  but  that  they  are  merely 
brain-reflexes  due  to  practice."  *  The  means  of  his  conver. 
sion  are  certain  experiments  performed  in  his  laboratory 
by  Herr  L.  Lange,  t  who  was  led  to  distinguish  between 
two  ways  of  setting  the  attention  in  reacting  on  a  signal, 
and  who  found  that  they  gave  very  different  time-results. 
In  the  '  extreme  sensorial '  way,  as  Lange  calls  it,  of  reacting, 

minimum  winking-time'  is  then  0.0471  (ibid.  531),  whilst  his  reduced  reac 
tion-time  is  0.0828  (itrid.  vn.  637).  These  figures  have  really  no  scientific 
value  beyond  that  of  showing,  according  to  Exner's  own  belief  (vn.  531), 
that  reaction-time  and  reflex-time  measure  processes  of  essentially  the  same 
order.  His  description,  moreover,  of  the  process  is  an  excellent  description 
of  a  reflex  act.  ' '  Every  one,"  says  he,  "  who  makes  reaction-time  experi 
ments  for  the  first  time  is  surprised  to  find  how  little  he  is  master  of  his  own 
movements,  so  soon  as  it  becomes  a  question  of  executing  them  with  a 
maximum  of  speed.  Not  only  does  their  energy  lie,  as  it  were,  outside  the 
field  of  choice,  but  even  the  time  in  which  the  movement  occurs  depends 
only  partly  upon  ourselves.  We  jerk  our  arm,  and  we  can  afterwards  tell 
with  astonishing  precision  whether  we  have  jerked  it  quicker  or  slower  than 
another  time,  although  we  have  no  power  to  jerk  it  exactly  at  the  wished-for 
moment." — Wundt  himself  admits  that  when  we  await  a  strong  signal  with 
tense  preparation  there  is  no  consciousness  of  any  duality  of  '  appercep 
tion  '  and  motor  response;  the  two  are  continuous  (Physiol.  Psych.,  II. 
226).— Mr.  Cattell's  view  is  identical  with  the  one  I  defend.  "I  think," 
he  says,  "that  if  the  processes  of  perception  and  willing  are  present  at  all 
they  are  very  rudimentary.  .  .  .  The  subject,  by  a  voluntary  effort  [before 
the  signal  comes],  puts  the  lines  of  communication  between  the  centre  for" 
the  stimulus  "  and  the  centre  for  the  co-ordination  of  motions  .  ..  in  a  state 
of  unstable  equilibrium.  When,  therefore,  a  nervous  impulse  reaches  the" 
former  centre,  "  it  causes  brain-changes  in  two  directions;  an  impulse  moves 
along  to  the  cortex  and  calls  forth  there  a  perception  corresponding  to  the 
stimulus,  while  at  the  same  time  an  impulse  follows  a  line  of  small  resist 
ance  to  the  centre  for  the  co-ordination  of  motions,  and  the  proper  nervous 
impulse,  already  prepared  and  waiting  for  the  signal,  is  sent  from  the 
centre  to  the  muscle  of  the  hand.  When  the  reaction  has  often  been 
made  the  entire  cerebral  process  becomes  automatic,  the  impulse  of  itself 
takes  the  well-travelled  way  to  the  motor  centre,  and  releases  the  motor 
impulse."  (Mind,  xi.  232-3.)— Finally,  Prof.  Lipps  has,  in  his  elaborate 
way  (Grundtatsachen,  179-188),  made  mince-meat  of  the  view  that  stage  3 
involves  either  conscious  perception  01  conscious  will. 

*  Physiol.  Psych.,  3d  edition  (1887),  vol.  n.  p.  266. 

f  Philosophische  Studien,  vol.  iv.  p.  479  (1888). 


GENERAL  CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN- ACTIVITY.          93 

one  keeps  one's  mind  as  intent  as  possible  upon  the  ex 
pected  signal,  and '  purposely  avoids '  *  thinking  of  the  move 
ment  to  be  executed ;  in  the  t  extreme  muscular '  way  one 
1  does  not  think  at  all '  t  of  the  signal,  but  stands  as  ready  as 
possible  for  the  movement.  The  muscular  reactions  are 
much  shorter  than  the  sensorial  ones,  the  average  differ 
ence  being  in  the  neighborhood  of  a  tenth  of  a  second. 
Wuudt  accordingly  calls  them  '  shortened  reactions '  and, 
with  Lange,  admits  them  to  be  mere  reflexes ;  whilst  the 
sensorial  reactions  he  calls  '•  complete,'  and  holds  to  his 
original  conception  as  far  as  they  are  concerned.  The 
facts,  however,  do  not  seem  to  me  to  warrant  even  this 
amount  of  fidelity  to  the  original  Wundtia.n  position. 
When  we  begin  to  react  in  the  '  extreme  sensorial '  way, 
Lange  says  that  we  get  times  so  very  long  that  they  must 
be  rejected  from  the  count  as  non-typical.  "  Only  after 
the  reactor  has  succeeded  by  repeated  and  conscientious 
practice  in  bringing  about  an  extremely  precise  co-ordina 
tion  of  his  voluntary  impulse  with  his  sense-impression 
do  we  get  times  which  can  be  regarded  as  typical  sensorial 
reaction-times/'  J  Now  it  seems  to  me  that  these  excessive 
and  '  untypical '  times  are  probably  the  real '  complete  times/ 
the  only  ones  in  which  distinct  processes  of  actual  percep 
tion  and  volition  occur  (see  above,  pp.  88-9).  The  typical 
sensorial  time  which  is  attained  by  practice  is  probably 
another  sort  of  reflex,  less  perfect  than  the  reflexes  pre 
pared  by  straining  one's  attention  towards  the  movement.  § 
The  times  are  much  more  variable  in  the  sensorial  way 
than  in  the  muscular.  The  several  muscular  reactions 
differ  little  from  each  other.  Only  in  them  does  the  phe 
nomenon  occur  of  reacting  on  a  false  signal,  or  of  reacting 
before  the  signal.  Times  intermediate  between  these  two 
types  occur  according  as  the  attention  fails  to  turn  itself 
exclusively  to  one  of  the  extremes.  It  is  obvious  that  Herr 
Lange's  distinction  between  the  two  types  of  reaction  is  a 
highly  important  one,  and  that  the  'extreme  muscular 


*Loc.  cit.  p.  488.  f  Loc-  cit.  p.  487.  \Loc.  cit.  p.  489. 

§  Lange  has  an  interesting  hypothesis  as  to  the  brain-process  concerned 
in  the  latter,  for  which  I  can  only  refer  to  his  essay- 


94  PSYCHOLOGY. 

method,'  giving  both  the  shortest  times  and  the  most  con 
stant  ones,  ought  to  be  aimed  at  in  all  comparative  investi 
gations.  Herr  Lange's  own  muscular  time  averaged 
(T.123  ;  his  sensorial  time,  0".230. 

These  reaction-time  experiments  are  then  in  no  sense 
measurements  of  the  swiftness  of  thought.  Only  when  we 
complicate  them  is  there  a  chance  for  anything  like  an 
intellectual  operation  to  occur.  They  may  be  complicated 
in  various  ways.  The  reaction  may  be  withheld  until  the 
signal  has  consciously  awakened  a  distinct  idea  (Wundt's 
discrimination-time,  association-time)  and  then  performed. 
Or  there  may  be  a  variety  of  possible  signals,  each  with 
a  different  reaction  assigned  to  it,  and  the  reacter  may 
be  uncertain  which  one  he  is  about  to  receive.  The 
reaction  would  then  hardly  seem  to  occur  without  a  pre 
liminary  recognition  and  choice.  "We  shall  see,  however, 
in  the  appropriate  chapters,  that  the  discrimination  and 
choice  involved  in  such  a  reaction  are  widely  different  from 
the  intellectual  operations  of  which  we  are  ordinarily  con 
scious  under  those  names.  Meanwhile  the  simple  reaction- 
time  remains  as  the  starting  point  of  all  these  superinduced 
complications.  It  is  the  fundamental  physiological  con 
stant  in  ail  time-measurements.  As  such,  its  own  variations 
have  an  interest,  and  must  be  briefly  passed  in  review.* 

The  reaction-time  varies  with  the  individual  and  his  age. 
An  individual  may  have  it  particularly  long  in  respect  of 
signals  of  one  sense  (Buccola,  p.  147),  but  not  of  others. 
Old  and  uncultivated  people  have  it  long  (nearly  a  second, 
in  an  old  pauper  observed  by  Exner,  Pfliiger's  Archiv,  VII. 
612-4).  Children  have  it  long  (half  a  second,  Herzen  in 
Buccola,  p.  152). 

Practice  shortens  it  to  a  quantity  which  is  for  each  indi 
vidual  a  minimum  beyond  which  no  farther  reduction  can 
be  made.  The  aforesaid  old  pauper's  time  was,  after 
much  practice,  reduced  to  0.1866  sec.  (loc.  cit.  p.  626). 

*  The  reader  who  wishes  to  know  more  about  the  matter  will  find  a 
most  faithful  compilation  of  all  that  has  been  done,  together  with  much 
original  matter,  in  G.  Buccola's  'Legge  del  Tempo,'  etc.  See  also  chap 
ter  xvi  of  Wundt's  Physiol.  Psychology;  Exner  in  Hermann's  Hdbch., 
Bd.  2,  Thl.  ii.  pp.  252-280;  aJso  Ribot's  Contemp.  Germ.  Psych 
chap.  vm. 


GENERAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY.  95 

Fatigue  lengthens  it. 

Concentration  of  attention  shortens  it.  Details  will  be 
given  in  the  chapter  on  Attention. 

The  nature  of  the  signal  makes  it  vary.*     Wundt  writes  : 

u  I  found  that  the  reaction-time  for  impressions  on  the  skin  with 
electric  stimulus  is  less  than  for  true  touch-sensations,  as  the  following 
averages  show: 

Average.  vtriSSS. 

Sound 0.167  sec.  0.0221  sec. 

Light 0.222    u  0.0219    " 

Electric  skin-sensation 0.201    "  0.0115    " 

Touch-sensations 0.213    "  0.0134    " 

"I  here  bring  together  the  averages  which  have  been  obtained  by 
some  other  observers  : 

Hirsch.  Hankel.  Exner. 

Sound 0.149  0.1505  0.1360 

Light 0.200  0.2246  0.1506 

Skin-sensation 0.182  0. 1546  0. 1337  "  t 

Thermic  reactions  have  been  lately  measured  by  A. 
Goldscheider  and  by  Vintschgau  (1887),  who  find  them 
slower  than  reactions  from  touch.  That  from  heat  espe 
cially  is  very  slow,  more  so  than  from  cold,  the  differences 
(according  to  Goldscheider)  depending  on  the  nerve-ter 
minations  in  the  skin. 

Gustatory  reactions  were  measured  by  Vintschgau.  They 
differed  according  to  the  substances  used,  running  up  to 
half  a  second  as  a  maximum  when  identification  took  place. 
The  mere  perception  of  the  presence  of  the  substance  on 
the  tongue  varied  from  0".159  to  0".219  (Pfliiger's  Archiv, 
xiv.  529). 

Olfactory  reactions  have  been  studied  by  Vintsehgau, 


*The  nature  of  the  movement  also  seems  to  make  it  vary.  Mr.  B.  I. 
Oilman  and  I  reacted  to  the  same  signal  by  simply  raising  our  hand,  and 
again  by  carrying  our  hand  towards  oiir  back.  The  moment  registered  was 
always  that  at  which  the  hand  broke  an  electric  contact  in  starting  to 
move.  But  it  started  one  or  two  hundredths  of  a  second  later  when  the 
more  extensive  movement  was  the  one  to  be  made.  Orchansky,  on  the 
other  hand,  experimenting  on  contractions  of  the  masseter  muscle,  found 
(Archiv  f.  (Anat.  u.)  Physiol.,  1889,  p.  187)  that  the  greater  the  amplitude 
of  contraction  intended,  the  shorter  grew  the  time  of  reaction.  He 
explains  this  by  the  fact  that  a  more  ample  contraction  makes  a  greater 
appeal  to  the  attention,  and  that  this  shortens  the  times. 

| Physiol.  Psych.,  u.  223. 


96  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Buccola,  and  Beaunis.  They  are  slow,  averaging  about 
half  a  second  (cf.  Beaunis,  Recherches  exp.  sur  1'Activite 
Cerebrale,  1884,  p.  49  ff.). 

It  will  be  observed  that  sound  is  more  promptly  reacted 
on  than  either  sight  or  touch.  Taste  and  smell  are  slower 
than  either.  One  individual,  who  reacted  to  touch  upon 
the  tip  of  the  tongue  in  Ox/.125,  took  0^.993  to  react  upon 
the  taste  of  quinine  applied  to  the  same  spot.  In  another, 
upon  the  base  of  the  tongue,  the  reaction  to  touch  being 
0//.141,  that  to  sugar  was  0".552  (Vintschgau,  quoted  by 
Buccola,  p.  103).  Buccola  found  the  reaction  to  odors  to 
vary  from  0".334  to  0".681,  according  to  the  perfume  used 
and  the  individual. 

The  intensity  of  the  signal  makes  a  difference.  The  in- 
tenser  the  stimulus  the  shorter  the  time.  Herzen  (Grund- 
linien  einer  allgem.  Psychophysiologie,  p.  101)  compared 
the  reaction  from  a  corn  on  the  toe  with  that  from  the  skin 
of  the  hand  of  the  same  subject.  The  two  places  were 
stimulated  simultaneously,  and  the  subject  tried  to  react 
simultaneously  with  both  hand  and  foot,  but  the  foot  always 
went  quickest.  When  the  sound  skin  of  the  foot  was 
touched  instead  of  the  corn,  it  was  the  hand  which  always 
reacted  first.  "Wundt  tries  to  show  that  when  the  signal  is 
made  barely  perceptible,  the  time  is  probably  the  same  in 
all  the  senses,  namely,  about  0.332"  (Physiol.  Psych.,  2d 
ed.,  n.  224). 

Where  the  signal  is  of  touch,  the  place  to  which  it  is 
applied  makes  a  difference  in  the  resultant  reaction-time. 
G.  S.  Hall  and  V.  Kries  found  (Archiv  f.  Anat.  u.  Physiol., 
1879)  that  when  the  finger-tip  was  the  place  the  reaction 
was  shorter  than  when  the  middle  of  the  upper  arm  was 
used,  in  spite  of  the  greater  length  of  nerve-trunk  to  be 
traversed  in  the  latter  case.  This  discovery  invalidates  the 
measurements  of  the  rapidity  of  transmission  of  the  current 
in  human  nerves,  for  they  are  all  based  on  the  method  of 
comparing  reaction-times  from  places  near  the  root  and 
near  the  extremity  of  a  limb.  The  same  observers  found 
that  signals  seen  by  the  periphery  of  the  retina  gave  longer 
times  than  the  same  signals  seen  by  direct  vision. 

The  season  makes  a  difference,  the  time  being  some  hun- 


GENERAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN- ACTIVITY.  97 

dredths  of  a  second  shorter  on  cold  winter  days  (Vintschgau 
apud  Exner,  Hermann's  Hdbli.,  p.  270). 

Intoxicants  alter  the  time.  Coffee  and  tea  appear  to 
shorten  it.  Small  doses  of  ivine  and  alcohol  first  shorten  and 
then  lengthen  it ;  but  the  shortening  stage  tends  to  disap 
pear  if  a  large  dose  be  given  immediately.  This,  at  least, 
is  the  report  of  two  German  observers.  Dr.  J.  W.  Warren, 
whose  observations  are  more  thorough  than  any  previous 
ones,  could  find  no  very  decided  effects  from  ordinary  doses 
(Journal  of  Physiology,  vm.  311).  Morphia  lengthens  the 
time.  Amyl-nitrite  lengthens  it,  but  after  the  inhalation  it 
may  fall  to  less  than  the  normal.  Ether  and  chloroform 
lengthen  it  (for  authorities,  etc.,  see  Buccola,  p.  189). 

Certain  diseased  states  naturally  lengthen  the  time. 

The  hypnotic  trance  has  no  constant  effect,  sometimes 
shortening  and  sometimes  lengthening  it  (Hall,  Mind,  vm. 
170 ;  James,  Proc.  Am.  Soc.  for  Psych.  Kesearch,  246). 

The  time  taken  to  inhibit  a  movement  (e.g.  to  cease  con 
traction  of  jaw-muscles)  seems  to  be  about  the  same  as  to 
produce  one  (Gad,  Archiv  f.  (Anat.  u.)  Physiol.,  1887,  468 ; 
Orchansky,  ibid.,  1889,  1885). 

An  immense  amount  of  work  has  been  done  on  reaction- 
time,  of  which  I  have  cited  but  a  small  part.  It  is  a  sort 
of  work  which  appeals  particularly  to  patient  and  exact 
minds,  and  they  have  not  failed  to  profit  by  the  opportunity. 

CEREBRAL  BLOOD-SUPPLY. 

The  next  point  to  occupy  our  attention  is  the  changes  of 
circulation  which  accompany  cerebral  activity. 

All  parts  of  the  cortex,  when  electrically  excited,  produce 
alterations  both  of  respiration  and  circulation.  The  blood- 
pressure  rises,  as  a  rule,  all  over  the  body,  no  matter  where 
the  cortical  irritation  is  applied,  though  the  motor  zone  is 
the  most  sensitive  region  for  the  purpose.  Elsewhere  the 
current  must  be  strong  enough  for  an  epileptic  attack  to  be 
produced.*  Slowing  and  quickening  of  the  heart  are  also 
observed,  and  are  independent  of  the  vaso-constrictive 
phenomenon.  Mosso,  using  his  ingenious  'plethysmo- 

*  Francois- Franck,  Fonctions  Motrices,  Le^on  xxn. 


98  PSYCHOLOGY. 

graph'  as  an  indicator,  discovered  that  the  blood-supply  to 
the  arms  diminished  during  intellectual  activity,  and  found 
furthermore  that  the  arterial  tension  (as  shown  by  the 
sphygmograph)  was  increased  in  these  members  (see 


FIG.  23.— Sphymographic  pulse-tracing.    A,  during  intellectual  repose  ;  B,  during  in 
tellectual  activity.    (Mosso.) 

Fig.  23).  So  slight  an  emotion  as  that  produced  by  the 
entrance  of  Professor  Ludwig  into  the  laboratory  was  in 
stantly  followed  by  a  shrinkage  of  the  arms.*  The  brain 
itself  is  an  excessively  vascular  organ,  a  sponge  full  of 
blood,  in  fact ;  and  another  of  Mosso's  inventions  showed 
that  when  less  blood  went  to  the  arms,  more  went  to  the 
head.  The  subject  to  be  observed  lay  on  a  delicately  bal 
anced  table  which  could  tip  downward  either  at  the  head 
or  at  the  foot  if  the  weight  of  either  end  were  increased. 
The  moment  emotional  or  intellectual  activity  began  in  the 
subject,  down  went  the  balance  at  the  head-end,  in  conse 
quence  of  the  redistribution  of  blood  in  his  system.  But 
the  best  proof  of  the  immediate  afflux  of  blood  to  the  brain 
during  mental  activity  is  due  to  Mosso's  observations  on 
three  persons  whose  brain  had  been  laid  bare  by  lesion  of 
the  skull.  By  means  of  apparatus  described  in  his  book,  f 
this  physiologist  was  enabled  to  let  the  brain-pulse  record 
itself  diroctly  by  a  tracing.  The  intra-cranial  blood-pressure 
rose  immediately  whenever  the  subject  was  spoken  to,  or 
when  he  began  to  think  actively,  as  in  solving  a  problem  in 
mental  arithmetic.  Mosso  gives  in  his  work  a  large  num 
ber  of  reproductions  of  tracings  which  show  the  instanta- 
neity  of  the  change  of  blood-supply,  whenever  the  mental 
activity  was  quickened  by  any  cause  whatever,  intellectual 

*  La  Paura(1884),  p.  117. 

t  Ueber  den  Kreislauf  des  Blutes  im  menschlicheii  Gehirn  (1881). 
chap.  ii.  The  Introduction  gives  the  history  of  our  previous  knowledge 
:>f  the  subject. 


GENERAL  CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY. 

or  emotional.  He  relates  of  his  female  subject  that  one 
day  whilst  tracing  her  brain-pulse  he  observed  a  sudden 
rise  with  no  apparent  outer  or  inner  cause.  She  however 
confessed  to  him  afterwards  that  at  that  moment  she  had 
caught  sight  of  a  skull  on  top  of  a  piece  of  furniture  in  the 
voom3  and  that  this  had  given  her  a  slight  emotion. 

The  fluctuations  of  the  blood  supply  to  the  brain  were 
independent  of  respiratory  changes,*  and  followed  the 
quickening  of  mental  activity  almost  immediately.  We 
must  suppose  a  very  delicate  adjustment  whereby  the  cir 
culation  follows  the  needs  of  the  cerebral  activity.  Blood 
very  likely  may  rush  to  each  region  of  the  cortex  accord 
ing  as  it  is  most  active,  but  of  this  we  know  nothing.  I  need 
hardly  say  that  the  activity  of  the  nervous  matter  is  the 
primary  phenomenon,  and  the  afflux  of  blood  its  secondary 
consequence.  Many  popular  writers  talk  as  if  it  were 
the  other  way  about,  and  as  if  mental  activity  were  due  to 
the  afflux  of  blood.  But,  as  Professor  H.  N.  Martin  has 
well  said,  "that  belief  has  no  physiological  foundation 
whatever;  it  is  even  directly  opposed  to  all  that  we  know  of 
cell  life."f  A  chronic  pathological  congestion  may,  it  is  true, 
have  secondary  consequences,  but  the  primary  congestions 
which  we  have  been  considering  follow  the  activity  of  the 
brain-cells  by  an  adaptive  reflex  vaso-motor  mechanism 
doubtless  as  elaborate  as  that  which  harmonizes  blood- 
supply  with  cell-action  in  any  muscle  or  gland. 

Of  the  changes  in  the  cerebral  circulation  during  sleep 
I  will  speak  in  the  chapter  which  treats  of  that  subject. 

CEREBRAL  THERMOMETRY. 

Brain-activity  seems  accompanied  by  a  local  disengagement 
of  heat.  The  earliest  careful  work  in  this  direction  was  by 
Dr.  J.  S.  Lombard  in  1867.  Dr.  Lombard's  latest  results  in 
clude  the  records  of  over  60,000  observations.^:  He  noted  the 

*  In  this  conclusion  M.  Gley  (Archives  de  Pbysiologie,  1881,  p.  742) 
agrees  with  Professor  Mosso.     Gley  found  his  pulse  rise  1-3  beats,  his 
carotid  dilate,  and  his  radial  artery  contract  during  hard  mental  work. 
f  Address  before  Med.  and  Chirurg.  Society  of  Maryland,  1879 
^  See  his  book.  "Experimental  Researches  on  the  Regional  Tempera 
lure  of  the  Head"  (London.  1879). 


100  PSYCHOLOGY. 

changes  in  delicate  thermometers  and  electric  piles  placed 
against  the  scalp  in  human  beings,  and  found  that  any  intel 
lectual  effort,  such  as  computing,  composing,  reciting  poetry 
silently  or  aloud,  and  especially  that  emotional  excitement 
such  as  an  anger  fit,  caused  a  general  rise  of  temperature, 
which  rarely  exceeded  a  degree  Fahrenheit.  The  rise  was 
in  most  cases  more  marked  in  the  middle  region  of  the  head 
than  elsewhere.  Strange  to  say,  it  was  greater  in  reciting 
poetry  silently  than  in  reciting  it  aloud.  Dr.  Lombard's 
explanation  is  that  "  in  internal  recitation  an  additional 
portion  of  energy,  which  in  recitation  aloud  was  con 
verted  into  nervous  and  muscular  force,  now  appears  as 
heat."  *  I  should  suggest  rather,  if  we  must  have  a  theory, 
that  the  surplus  of  heat  in  recitation  to  one's  self  is  due  to 
inhibitory  processes  which  are  absent  when  we  recite  aloud. 
In  the  chapter  on  the  Will  we  shall  see  that  the  simple  cen 
tral  process  is  to  speak  when  we  think  ;  to  think  silently 
involves  a  check  in  addition.  In  1870  the  indefatigable 
Schiff  took  up  the  subject,  experimenting  on  live  dogs  and 
chickens,  plunging  thermo-electric  needles  into  the  sub 
stance  of  their  brain,  to  eliminate  possible  errors  from 
vascular  changes  in  the  skin  when  the  thermometers  were 
placed  upon  the  scalp.  After  habituation  was  established, 
he  tested  the  animals  with  various  sensations,  tactile,  optic, 
olfactory,  and  auditory.  He  found  very  regularly  an  im 
mediate  deflection  of  the  galvanometer,  indicating  an  abrupt 
alteration  of  the  intra-cerebral  temperature.  When,  for  in 
stance,  he  presented  an  empty  roll  of  paper  to  the  nose  of 
his  dog  as  it  lay  motionless,  there  was  a  small  deflection, 
but  when  a  piece  of  meat  was  in  the  paper  the  deflection 
was  much  greater.  Schiff  concluded  from  these  and  other 
experiments  that  sensorial  activity  heats  the  brain-tissue, 
but  he  did  not  try  to  localize  the  increment  of  heat  beyond 
finding  that  it  was  in  both  hemispheres,  whatever  might  be 
the  sensation  applied,  t  Dr.  E.  W.  Amidon  in  1880  made 
a  farther  step  forward,  in  localizing  the  heat  produced  by 
voluntary  muscular  contractions.  Applying  a  number  of 

*  Loc.  cit.  p.  195. 

f  The  most  convenient  account  of  Schiff's  experiments  is  by  Prof, 
fierzen,  in  the  Revue  Philosophique,  vol.  in.  p.  36. 


GENERAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN- ACTIVITY.         101 

delicate  surface-thermometers  simultaneously  against  the 
scalp,  he  found  that  when  different  muscles  of  the  body 
were  made  to  contract  vigorously  for  ten  minutes  or  more, 
different  regions  of  the  scalp  rose  in  temperature,  that  the 
regions  were  well  focalized,  and  that  the  rise  of  temperature 
was  often  considerably  over  a  Fahrenheit  degree.  As  a  re 
sult  of  his  investigations  he  gives  a  diagram  in  which  num 
bered  regions  represent  the  centres  of  highest  temperature 
for  the  various  special  movements  which  were  investigated. 
To  a  large  extent  they  correspond  to  the  centres  for  the 
same  movements  assigned  by  Ferrier  and  others  on  other 
grounds  ;  only  they  cover  more  of  the  skull.* 

Phosphorus  and  Thought. 

Chemical  action  must  of  course  accompany  brain-activity. 
But  little  definite  is  known  of  its  exact  nature.  Cholesterin 
and  creatin  are  both  excrementitious  products,  and  are 
both  found  in  the  brain.  The  subject  belongs  to  chemistry 
rather  than  to  psychology,  and  I  only  mention  it  here  for 
the  sake  of  saying  a  word  about  a  wide-spread  popu 
lar  error  about  brain-activity  and  phosphorus.  '  Ohm 
Phosphor,  kein  Gedanke,'  was  a  noted  war-cry  of  the 
'  materialists '  during  the  excitement  on  that  subject  which 
filled  Germany  in  the  '60s.  The  brain,  like  every  other 
organ  of  the  body,  contains  phosphorus,  and  a  score  of 
other  chemicals  besides.  Why  the  phosphorus  should  be 
picked  out  as  its  essence,  no  one  knows.  It  would  be 
equally  true  to  say  '  Ohne  Wasser  kein  Gedanke,'  or  '  Ohne 
Kochsalz  kein  Gedanke ' ;  for  thought  would  stop  as  quickly 
if  the  brain  should  dry  up  or  lose  its  NaCl  as  if  it  lost  its 
phosphorus.  In  America  the  phosphorus-delusion  has 
twined  itself  round  a  saying  quoted  (rightly  or  wrongly) 
from  Professor  L.  Agassiz,  to  the  effect  that  fishermen  are 
more  intelligent  than  farmers  because  they  eat  so  much  fish, 
which  contains  so  much  phosphorus.  All  the  facts  may  be 
doubted. 

The  only  straight  way  to  ascertain  the  importance  of 

*  A  New  Study  of  Cerebral   Cortical   Localization  (N.  Y.,  Putnam, 
1880),  pp.  48-53. 


1TJ2  PSYCHOLOGY. 

phosphorus  to  thought  would  be  to  find  whether  more  is 
excreted  by  the  brain  during  mental  activity  than  during 
rest.  Unfortunately  we  cannot  do  this  directly,  but  can 
only  gauge  the  amount  of  PO6  in  the  urine,  which  repre 
sents  other  organs  as  well  as  the  brain,  and  this  procedure, 
as  Dr.  Edes  says,  is  like  measuring  the  rise  of  water  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Mississippi  to  tell  where  there  has  been  a 
thunder-storm  in  Minnesota.*  It  has  been  adopted,  how 
ever,  by  a  variety  of  observers,  some  of  whom  found  the 
phosphates  in  the  urine  diminished,  whilst  others  found 
them  increased,  by  intellectual  work.  On  the  whole,  it  is 
impossible  to  trace  any  constant  relation.  In  maniacal 
excitement  less  phosphorus  than  usual  seems  to  be  excreted. 
More  is  excreted  during  sleep.  There  are  differences  be 
tween  the  alkaline  and  earthy  phosphates  into  which  I  will 
not  enter,  as  my  only  aim  is  to  show  that  the  popular  way 
of  looking  at  the  matter  has  no  exact  foundation,  f  The 
fact  that  phosphorus-preparations  may  do  good  in  nervous 
exhaustion  proves  nothing  as  to  the  part  played  by  phos 
phorus  in  mental  activity.  Like  iron,  arsenic,  and  other 
remedies  it  is  a  stimulant  or  tonic,  of  whose  intimate  work 
ings  in  the  system  we  know  absolutely  nothing,  and  which 
moreover  does  good  in  an  extremely  small  number  of  the 
cases  in  which  it  is  prescribed. 

The  phosphorus-philosophers  have  often  compared 
thought  to  a  secretion.  "  The  brain  secretes  thought,  as  the 
kidneys  secrete  urine,  or  as  the  liver  secretes  bile,"  are 
phrases  which  one  sometimes  hears.  The  lame  analogy 
need  hardly  be  pointed  out.  The  materials  which  the  brain 
pours  into  the  blood  (cholesterin,  creatin,  xanthin,  or  what 
ever  they  may  be)  are  the  analogues  of  the  urine  and  the 
bile,  being  in  fact  real  material  excreta.  As  far  as  these 
matters  go,  the  brain  is  a  ductless  gland.  But  we  know  of 
nothing  connected  with  liver-  and  kidney-activity  which  can 

*  Archives  of  Medicine,  vol.  x,  No.  1  (1883). 

f  Without  multiplying  references,  I  will  simply  cite  Mendel  (Archiv  f . 
Psychiatric,  vol.  in,  1871),  Mairet  (Archives  de  Neurologic,  vol.  ix,  1885), 
and  Beaunis  (Rech.  Experimentales  sur  1'Activite  Cerebrale,  1887).  Richet 
gives  a  partial  bibliography  in  the  Revue  Scientifique,  vol.  38,  p.  788  (1886). 


GENERAL   CONDITIONS  OF  BRAIN-ACTIVITY.         103 

be  in  the  remotest  degree  compared  with  the  stream  of 
thought  that  accompanies  the  brain's  material  secretions. 

There  remains  another  feature  of  general  brain-physi 
ology,  and  indeed  for  psychological  purposes  the  most 
important  feature  of  all.  I  refer  to  the  aptitude  of  the  brain 
for  acquiring  habits.  But  I  will  treat  of  that  in  a  chapter 
by  itself. 


OHAPTEK  IV.* 
HABIT. 

WHEN  we  look  at  living  creatures  from  an  outward  point 
of  view,  one  of  the  first  things  that  strike  us  is  that  they 
are  bundles  of  habits.  In  wild  animals,  the  usual  round  of 
daily  behavior  seems  a  necessity  implanted  at  birth;  in 
animals  domesticated,  and  especially  in  man,  it  seems,  to  a 
great  extent,  to  be  the  result  of  education.  The  habits  to 
which  there  is  an  innate  tendency  are  called  instincts ;  some 
of  those  due  to  education  would  by  most  persons  be  called 
acts  of  reason.  It  thus  appears  that  habit  covers  a  very 
large  part  of  life,  and  that  one  engaged  in  studying  the 
objective  manifestations  of  mind  is  bound  at  the  very  out 
set  to  define  clearly  just  what  its  limits  are. 

The  moment  one  tries  to  define  what  habit  is,  one  is  led 
to  the  fundamental  properties  of  matter.  The  laws  of 
Nature  are  nothing  but  the  immutable  habits  which  the 
different  elementary  sorts  of  matter  follow  in  their  actions 
and  reactions  upon  each  other.  In  the  organic  world,  how 
ever,  the  habits  are  more  variable  than  this.  Even  instincts 
vary  from  one  individual  to  another  of  a  kind;  and  are 
modified  in  the  same  individual,  as  we  shall  later  see,  to 
suit  the  exigencies  of  the  case.  The  habits  of  an  elemen 
tary  particle  of  matter  cannot  change  (on  the  principles  of 
the  atomistic  philosophy),  because  the  particle  is  itself  an 
unchangeable  thing ;  but  those  of  a  compound  mass  of 
matter  can  change,  because  they  are  in  the  last  instance  due 
to  the  structure  of  the  compound,  and  either  outward  forces 
or  inward  tensions  can,  from  one  hour  to  another,  turn  that 
structure  into  something  different  from  what  it  was.  That 
is,  they  can  do  so  if  the  body  be  plastic  enough  to  maintain 

*  This  chapter  has  already  appeared  in  the  Popular  Science  Monthly 
for  February  1887. 

104 


HABIT.  105 

its  integrity,  and  be  not  disrupted  when  its  structure  yields. 
The  change  of  structure  here  spoken  of  need  not  involve 
the  outward  shape ;  it  may  be  invisible  and  molecular,  as 
when  a  bar  of  iron  becomes  magnetic  or  crystalline  through 
the  action  of  certain  outward  causes,  or  India-rubber 
becomes  friable,  or  plaster  '  sets.'  All  these  changes  are 
rather  slow ;  the  material  in  question  opposes  a  certain 
resistance  to  the  modifying  cause,  which  it  takes  time  to 
overcome,  but  the  gradual  yielding  whereof  often  saves  the 
material  from  being  disintegrated  altogether.  When  the 
structure  has  yielded,  the  same  inertia  becomes  a  condition 
of  its  comparative  permanence  in  the  new  form,  and  of  the 
new  habits  the  body  then  manifests.  Plasticity,  then,  in 
the  wide  sense  of  the  word,  means  the  possession  of  a  struc 
ture  weak  enough  to  yield  to  an  influence,  but  strong 
enough  not  to  yield  all  at  once.  Each  relatively  stable 
phase  of  equilibrium  in  such  a  structure  is  marked  by 
what  we  may  call  a  new  set  of  habits.  Organic  matter, 
especially  nervous  tissue,  seems  endowed  with  a  very  ex 
traordinary  degree  of  plasticity  of  this  sort;  so  that  we 
may  without  hesitation  lay  down  as  our  first  proposition 
the  following,  that  the  phenomena  of  habit  in  living  beings  are 
due  to  the  plasticity*  of  the  organic  materials  of  wliich  their 
bodies  are  composed. 

But  the  philosophy  of  habit  is  thus,  in  the  first  instance, 
a  chapter  in  physics  rather  than  in  physiology  or  psychol 
ogy.  That  it  is  at  bottom  a  physical  principle  is  admitted 
by  all  good  recent  writers  on  the  subject.  They  call  atten 
tion  to  analogues  of  acquired  habits  exhibited  by  dead  mat 
ter.  Thus,  M.  Leon  Dumont,  whose  essay  on  habit  is  per 
haps  the  most  philosophical  account  yet  published,  writes : 

"  Every  one  knows  how  a  garment,  after  having  been  worn  a  certain 
time,  clings  to  the  shape  of  the  body  better  than  when  it  was  new; 
there  has  been  a  change  in  the  tissue,  and  this  change  is  a  new  habit  of 
cohesion.  A  lock  works  better  after  being  used  some  time;  at  the  out 
set  more  force  was  required  to  overcome  certain  roughnesses  in  the 
mechanism.  The  overcoming  of  their  resistance  is  a  phenomenon  of 
habituation.  It  costs  less  trouble  to  fold  a  paper  when  it  has  been 

*  In  the  sense  above  explained,  which  applies  to  inner  structure  as  well 
as  to  outer  form. 


106  PSYCHOLOGY. 

folded  already.  This  saving  of  trouble  is  due  to  the  essential  nature  ot 
habit,  which  brings  it  about  that,  to  reproduce  the  effect,  a  less  amount 
of  the  outward  cause  is  required.  The  sounds  of  a  violin  improve  by 
use  in  the  hands  of  an  able  artist,  because  the  fibres  of  the  wood  at  last 
contract  habits  of  vibration  conformed  to  harmonic  relations.  This  is 
what  gives  such  inestimable  value  to  instruments  that  have  belonged  to 
great  masters.  Water,  in  flowing,  hollows  out  for  itself  a  channel,  which 
grows  broader  and  deeper;  and,  after  having  ceased  to  flow,  it  resumes, 
when  it  flows  again,  the  path  traced  by  itself  before.  Just  so,  the  im 
pressions  of  outer  objects  fashion  for  themselves  in  the  nervous  system 
more  and  more  appropriate  paths,  and  these  vital  phenomena  recur 
under  similar  excitements  from  without,  when  they  have  been  inter 
rupted  a  certain  time."  * 

Not  in  the  nervous  system  alone.  A  scar  anywhere  is 
a  locus  minoris  resistentice,  more  liable  to  be  abraded, 
inflamed,  to  suffer  pain  and  cold,  than  are  the  neighboring 
parts.  A  sprained  ankle,  a  dislocated  arm,  are  in  danger 
of  being  sprained  or  dislocated  again ;  joints  that  have  once 
been  attacked  by  rheumatism  or  gout,  mucous  membranes 
that  have  been  the  seat  of  catarrh,  are  with  each  fresh  re 
currence  more  prone  to  a  relapse,  until  often  the  morbid 
state  chronically  substitutes  itself  for  the  sound  one.  And 
if  we  ascend  to  the  nervous  system,  we  find  how  many  so- 
called  functional  diseases  seem  to  keep  themselves  going 
simply  because  they  happen  to  have  once  begun;  and  how 
the  forcible  cutting  short  by  medicine  of  a  few  attacks  is 
often  sufficient  to  enable  the  physiological  forces  to  get  pos 
session  of  the  field  again,  and  to  bring  the  organs  back  to 
functions  of  health.  Epilepsies,  neuralgias,  convulsive  affec 
tions  of  various  sorts,  insomnias,  are  so  many  cases  in  point. 
And,  to  take  what  are  more  obviously  habits,  the  success 
with  which  a  'weaning'  treatment  can  often  be  applied  to 
the  victims  of  unhealthy  indulgence  of  passion,  or  of 
mere  complaining  or  irascible  disposition,  shows  us  how 
much  the  morbid  manifestations  themselves  were  due  to  the 
mere  inertia  of  the  nervous  organs,  when  once  launched  on 
a  false  career. 

Can  we  now  form  a  notion  of  what  the  inward  physical 
changes  may  be  like,  in  organs  whose  habits  have  thus 


*  Revne  Philosophique,  i,  324. 


HABIT.  107 

struck  into  new  paths  ?  In  other  words,  can  we  say  just 
what  mechanical  facts  the  expression  '  change  of  habit1 
covers  when  it  is  applied  to  a  nervous  system  ?  Certainly 
we  cannot  in  anything  like  a  minute  or  definite  way.  But 
our  usual  scientific  custom  of  interpreting  hidden  molecular 
events  after  the  analogy  of  visible  massive  ones  enables  us  to 
frame  easily  an  abstract  and  general  scheme  of  processes 
which  the  physical  changes  in  question  may  be  like.  And 
when  once  the  possibility  of  some  kind  of  mechanical  inter 
pretation  is  established,  Mechanical  Science,  in  her  present 
mood,  will  not  hesitate  to  set  her  brand  of  ownership  upon 
the  matter,  feeling  sure  that  it  is  only  a  question  of  time 
when  the  exact  mechanical  explanation  of  the  case  shall  be 
found  out. 

If  habits  are  due  to  the  plasticity  of  materials  to  out 
ward  agents,  we  can  immediately  see  to  what  outward 
influences,  if  to  any,  the  brain-matter  is  plastic.  Not  to 
mechanical  pressures,  not  to  thermal  changes,  not  to  any 
of  the  forces  to  which  all  the  other  organs  of  our  body  are 
exposed ;  for  nature  has  carefully  shut  up  our  brain  and 
spinal  cord  in  bony  boxes,  where  no  influences  of  this  sort 
can  get  at  them.  She  has  floated  them  in  fluid  so  that 
only  the  severest  shocks  can  give  them  a  concussion,  and 
blanketed  and  wrapped  them  about  in  an  altogether  excep 
tional  way.  The  only  impressions  that  can  be  made  upon 
them  are  through  the  blood,  on  the  one  hand,  and  through 
the  sensory  nerve-roots,  on  the  other  ;  and  it  is  to  the  infi 
nitely  attenuated  currents  that  pour  in  through  these  latter 
channels  that  the  hemispherical  cortex  shows  itself  to  be  so 
peculiarly  susceptible.  The  currents,  once  in,  must  find  a 
way  out.  In  getting  out  they  leave  their  traces  in  the  paths 
which  they  take.  The  only  thing  they  can  do,  in  short,  is 
to  deepen  old  paths  or  to  make  new  ones ;  and  the  whole 
plasticity  of  the  brain  sums  itself  up  in  two  words  when 
we  call  it  an  organ  in  which  currents  pouring  in  from  the 
sense-organs  make  with  extreme  facility  paths  which  do 
not  easily  disappear.  For,  of  course,  a  simple  habit,  like 
every  other  nervous  event — the  habit  of  snuffling,  for 
example,  or  of  putting  one's  hands  into  one's  pockets,  or  of 
biting  one's  nails — is,  mechanically,  nothing  but  a  reflex 


108  PSYCHOLOGY. 

discharge ;  and  its  anatomical  substratum  must  be  a  path 
in  the  system.  The  most  complex  habits,  as  we  shall 
presently  see  more  fully,  are,  from  the  same  point  of  view, 
1  nothing  but  concatenated  discharges  in  the  nerve-centres, 
lue  to  the  presence  there  of  systems  of  reflex  paths,  so 
>rganized  as  to  wake  each  other  up  successively — the  im 
pression  produced  by  one  muscular  contraction  serving  as 
a  stimulus  to  provoke  the  next,  until  a  final  impression 
inhibits  the  process  and  closes  the  chain.  The  only  diffi 
cult  mechanical  problem  is  to  explain  the  formation  de  novo 
of  a  simple  reflex  or  path  in  a  pre-existing  nervous  system. 
Here,  as  in  so  many  other  cases,  it  is  only  the  premier  pas 
qui  coute.  For  the  entire  nervous  system  is  nothing  but  a 
system  of  paths  between  a  sensory  terminus  a  quo  and  a  mus 
cular,  glandular,  or  other  terminus  ad  quern.  A  path  once 
traversed  by  a  nerve-current  might  be  expected  to  follow 
the  law  of  most  of  the  paths  we  know,  and  to  be  scooped 
out  and  made  more  permeable  than  before ;  *  and  this  ought 
to  be  repeated  with  each  new  passage  of  the  current. 
Whatever  obstructions  may  have  kept  it  at  first  from  being 
a  path  should  then,  little  by  little,  and  more  and  more,  be 
swept  out  of  the  way,  until  at  last  it  might  become  a  natural 
drainage-channel.  This  is  what  happens  where  either 
solids  or  liquids  pass  over  a  path ;  there  seems  no  reason 
why  it  should  not  happen  where  the  thing  that  passes  is  a 
mere  wave  of  rearrangement  in  matter  that  does  not  dis 
place  itself,  but  merely  changes  chemically  or  turns  itself 
round  in  place,  or  vibrates  across  the  line.  The  most 
plausible  views  of  the  nerve-current  make  it  out  to  be  the 
passage  of  some  such  wave  of  rearrangement  as  this.  If 
only  a  part  of  the  matter  of  the  path  were  to  '  rearrange ' 
itself,  the  neighboring  parts  remaining  inert,  it  is  easy  to 
see  how  their  inertness  might  oppose  a  friction  which  it 
would  take  many  waves  of  rearrangement  to  break  down 
and  overcome.  If  we  call  the  path  itself  the  '  organ,'  and 
the  wave  of  rearrangement  the  '  function,'  then  it  is  obvi- 

*  Some  paths,  to  be  sure,  are  banked  up  by  bodies  moving  through 
them  under  too  great  pressure,  and  made  impervious.  These  special  cases 
we  disregard. 


HABIT.  109 

ously  a  case  for  repeating  the  celebrated  French  formula 
of  '  La f (motion  fait  V organs.' 

So  nothing  is  easier  than  to  imagine  how,  when  a  cur 
rent  once  has  traversed  a  path,  it  should  traverse  it  more 
readily  still  a  second  time.  But  what  made  it  ever  traverse 
it  the  first  time  ?  *  In  answering  this  question  we  can  only 
fall  back  on  our  general  conception  of  a  nervous  system  as 
a  mass  of  matter  whose  parts,  constantly  kept  in  states  of 
different  tension,  are  as  constantly  tending  to  equalize  their 
states.  The  equalization  between  any  two  points  occurs 
through  whatever  path  may  at  the  moment  be  most  per-j 
vious.  But,  as  a  given  point  of  the  system  may  belong,' 
actually  or  potentially,  to  many  different  paths,  and,  as  the 

i  play  of  nutrition  is  subject  to  accidental  changes,  blockf 
may  from  time  to  time  occur,  and  make  currents  shoot 
through  unwonted  lines.  Such  an  unwonted  line  would  be 
a  new-created  path,  which  if  traversed  repeatedly,  would 
become  the  beginning  of  a  new  reflex  arc.  All  this  is  vague 
to  the  last  degree,  and  amounts  to  little  more  than  saying 
that  a  new  path  may  be  formed  by  the  sort  of  chances  that 

}  in  nervous  material  are  likely  to  occur.  But,  vague  as  it 
is,  it  is  really  the  last  word  of  our  wisdom  in  the  matter,  f 
It  must  be  noticed  that  the  growth  of  structural  modi 
fication  in  living  matter  may  be  more  rapid  than  in  any 
lifeless  mass,  because  the  incessant  nutritive  renovation  of 
which  the  living  matter  is  the  seat  tends  often  to  corroborate 

*  We  cannot  say  the  will,  for,  though  many,  perhaps  most,  human 
habits  were  once  voluntary  actions,  no  action,  as  we  shall  see  in  a  later 
chapter,  can  be  primarily  such.  While  an  habitual  action  may  once  have 
been  voluntary,  the  voluntary  action  must  before  that,  at  least  ouce,  have 
been  impulsive  or  reflex.  It  is  this  very  first  occurrence  of  all  that  we 
consider  in  the  text. 

f  Those  who  desire  a  more  definite  formulation  may  consult  J.  Fiske's 
'Cosmic  Philosophy,' vol.  n.  pp.  142-146  and  Spencer's  'Principles  of 
Biology,'  sections  302  and  803,  and  the  part  entitled  '  Physical  Synthesis' 
of  his  '  Principles  of  Psychology.'  Mr.  Spencer  there  tries,  not  only  to 
show  how  new  actions  may  arise  in  nervous  systems  and  form  new  reflex 
arcs  therein,  but  even  how  nervous  tissue  may  actually  be  born  by  the  pas 
sage  of  new  waves  of  isometric  transformation  through  an  originally  indif 
ferent  mass.  I  cannot  help  thinking  that  Mr.  Spencer's  data,  under  a  great 
show  of  precision,  conceal  vagueness  and  improbability,  and  even  self 
contradiction. 


110  PSYCHOLOGY. 


fix  the  impressed  modification,  rather  than  to  counter- 
jact  it  by  renewing  the  original  constitution  of  the  tissue 
/  that  has  been  impressed.     Thus,  we  notice  after  exercising 
our  muscles  or  our  brain  in  a  new  way,  that  we  can  do  so 
no  longer  at  that  time  ;  but  after  a  day  or  two  of  rest,  when 
!  we  resume  the  discipline,  our  increase  in  skill  not  seldom 
surprises  us.     I  have  often  noticed  this  in  learning  a  tune  ; 
and  it  has  led  a  German  author  to  say  that  we  learn  to  swim 
during  the  winter  and  to  skate  during  the  summer. 
Dr.  Carpenter  writes  :* 

"  It  is  a  matter  of  universal  experience  that  every  kind  of  training 
for  special  aptitudes  is  both  far  more  effective,  and  leaves  a  more  per 
manent  impress,  when  exerted  on  the  growing  organism  than  when 
brought  to  bear  on  the  adult.  The  effect  of  such  training  is  shown  in 
the  tendency  of  the  organ  to  '  grow  to  '  the  mode  in  which  it  is  habitually 
exercised  ;  as  is  evidenced  by  the  increased  size  and  power  of  particular 
sets  of  muscles,  and  the  extraordinary  flexibility  of  joints,  which  are 
acquired  by  such  as  have  been  early  exercised  in  gymnastic  perfor- 
mances.  .  .  .  There  is  no  part  of  the  organism  of  man  in  which  the 
reconstructive  activity  is  so  great,  during  the  whole  period  of  life,  as  it 
;  is  in  the  ganglionic  substance  of  the  brain.  This  is  indicated  by  the 
enormous  supply  of  blood  which  it  receives.  ...  It  is,  moreover,  a 
fact  of  great  significance  that  the  nerve-substance  is  specially  dis 
tinguished  by  its  reparative  power.  For  while  injuries  of  other  tissues 
(such  as  the  muscular)  which  are  distinguished  by  the  speciality  of  their 
structure  and  endowments,  are  repaired  by  substance  of  a  lower  or  less 
specialized  type,  those  of  nerve-substance  are  repaired  by  a  complete 
reproduction  of  the  normal  tissue  ;  as  is  evidenced  in  the  sensibility  of 
the  newly  forming  skin  which  is  closing  over  an  open  wound,  or  in  the 
recovery  of  the  sensibility  of  a  piece  of  '  transplanted  '  skin,  which  has 
for  a  time  been  rendered  insensible  by  the  complete  interruption  of  the 
continuity  of  its  nerves.  The  most  remarkable  example  of  this  repro 
duction,  however,  is  afforded  by  the  results  of  M.  Brown-Sequard'st 
\experiments  upon  the  gradual  restoration  of  the  functional  activity  of 
}the  spinal  cord  after  its  complete  division  ;  which  takes  place  in  a  way 
that  indicates  rather  a  reproduction  of  the  whole,  or  the  lower  part  of 
the  cord  and  of  the  nerves  proceeding  from  it,  than  a  mere  reunion  of 
divided  surfaces.  This  reproduction  is  but  a  special  manifestation  of 
the  reconstructive  change  which  is  always  taking  place  in  the  nervous 
system  ;  it  being  not  less  obvious  to  the  eye  of  reason  that  the  '  waste  ' 
occasioned  by  its  functional  activity  must  be  constantly  repaired  by  the 


f  •  Mental  Physiology  '  (1874.)  pp.  339-345. 

t [See,  later,  Masius  in  Van  Benedens'  and  Van  Bambeke's  'Archives 
de  Biologie,'  vol.  I  (Liege,  1880).— W.  J.] 


HABIT.  Ill 

production  of  new  tissue,  than  it  is  to  the  eye  of  sense  that  such  repa 
ration  supplies  an  actual  loss  of  substance  by  disease  or  injury. 

"Now,  in  this  constant  and  active  reconstruction  of  the  nervous 
system,  we  recognize  a  most  marked  conformity  to  the  general  plan    ' 
manifested  in  the  nutrition  of  the  organism  as  a  whole.     For,  in  the  I 

/  first  place,  it  is  obvious  that  there  is  a  tendency  to  the  production  of  a 
/  !  determinate  type  of  structure  ;  which  type  is  often  not  merely  that  of 

<.  the  species,  but  some  special  modification  of  it  which  characterized  one 
or  both  of  the  progenitors.  But  this  type  is  peculiarly  liable  to  modi 
fication  during  the  early  period  of  life  ;  in  which  the  functional  activity 
of  the  nervous  system  (and  particularly  of  the  brain)  is  extraordinarily 
great,  and  the  reconstructive  process  proportionally  active.  And  this 
modifiability  expresses  itself  in  the  formation  of  the  mechanism  by 
which  those  secondarily  automatic  modes  of  movement  come  to  be 
established,  which,  in  man,  take  the  place  of  those  that  are  congenital 
in  most  of  the  animals  beneath  him  ;  and  those  modes  of  sense-percep 
tion  come  to  be  acquired,  which  are  elsewhere  clearly  instinctive.  For 
there  can  be  no  reasonable  doubt  that,  in  both  cases,  a  nervous 
mechanism  is  developed  in  the  course  of  this  self-education,  correspond 
ing  with  that  which  the  lower  animals  inherit  from  their  parents.  The 
plan  of  that  rebuilding  process,  which  is  necessary  to  maintain  the 
integrity  of  the  organism  generally,  and  which  goes  on  with  peculiar 
activity  in  this  portion  of  it.  is  thus  being  incessantly  modified  ;  and  in 
this  manner  all  that  portion  of  it  which  ministers  to  the  external  life  of 
sense  and  motion  that  is  shared  by  man  with  the  animal  kingdom  at 
large,  becomes  at  adult  age  the  expression  of  the  habits  which  the 
individual  has  acquired  during  the  period  of  growth  and  development. 
Of  these  habits,  some  are  common  to  the  race  generally,  while  others  . 
are  peculiar  to  the  individual ;  those  of  the  former  kind  (such  as  walk 
ing  erect)  being  universally  acquired,  save  where  physical  inability 
prevents  ;  while  for  the  latter  a  special  training  is  needed,  which  is 
usually  the  more  effective  the  earlier  it  is  begun — as  is  remarkably 
seen  in  the  case  of  such  feats  of  dexterity  as  require  a  conjoint  edu 
cation  of  the  perceptive  and  of  the  motor  powers.  And  when  thus 
developed  during  the  period  of  growth,  so  as  to  have  become  a  part  of 
the  constitution  of  the  adult,  the  acquired  mechanism  is  thenceforth  K 
maintained  in  the  ordinary  course  of  the  nutritive  operations,  so  as  to  j  /< 
be  ready  for  use  when  called  upon,  even  after  long  inaction. 

"What  is  so  clearly  true  of  the  nervous  apparatus  of  animal  life  can 
scarcely  be  otherwise  than  true  of  that  which  ministers  to  the  automatic  , 
activity  of  the  mind.  For,  as  already  shown,  the  study  of  psychology 
has  evolved  no  more  certain  result  than  that  there  are  uniformities  of 
mental  action  which  aro  so  entirely  conformable  to  those  of  bodily  action 
as  to  indicate  their  intimate  relation  to  a  '  mechanism  of  thought  and 

'  feeling,'  acting  under  the  like  conditions  with  that  of  sense  and  motion. 
The  psychical  principles  of  association,  indeed,  and  the  physiological 
principles  of  nutrition,  simply  express — the  former  in  terms  of  mind, 


PSYCHOLOGY. 

the  latter  in  terms  of  brain — the  universally  admitted  fact  that  any 
sequence  of  mental  action  which  has  been  frequently  repeated  tends  to 
perpetuate  itself  ;  so  that  we  find  ourselves  automatically  prompted  to 
think,  feel,  or  do  what  we  have  been  before  accustomed  to  think,  feel, 
or  do,  under  like  circumstances,  without  any  consciously  formed  pur 
pose,  or  anticipation  of  results.  For  there  is  no  reason  to  regard  the 
cerebrum  as  an  exception  to  the  general  principle  that,  while  each  part 
of  the  organism  tends  to  form  itself  in  accordance  with  the  mode  in 
which  it  is  habitually  exercised,  this  tendency  will  be  especially  strong 
in  the  nervous  apparatus,  in  virtue  of  that  incessant  regeneration  which 
is  the  very  condition  of  its  functional  activity.  It  scarcely,  indeed, 
admits  of  doubt  that  every  state  of  ideational  consciousness  which  is 
either  very  strong  or  is  habitually  repeated  leaves  an  organic  impres 
sion  on  the  cerebrum  ;  in  virtue  of  which  that  same  state  may  be  re 
produced  at  any  future  time,  in  respondence  to  a  suggestion  fitted  to 
excite  it.  ...  The  'strength  of  early  association'  is  a  fact  so 
universally  recognized  that  the  expression  of  it  has  become  proverbial ; 
and  this  precisely  accords  with  the  physiological  principle  that,  during 
the  period  of  growth  and  development,  the  formative  activity  of  the 
brain  will  be  most  amenable  to  directing  influences.  It  is  in  this  way 
that  what  is  early  '  learned  by  heart '  becomes  branded  in  (as  it  were) 
upon  the  cerebrum  ;  so  that  its  '  traces '  are  never  lost,  even  though 
the  conscious  memory  of  it  may  have  completely  faded  out.  For,  when 
the  organic  modification  has  been  once  fixed  in  the  growing  brain,  it 
becomes  a  part  of  the  normal  fabric,  and  is  regularly  maintained  by 
nutritive  substitution  ;  so  that  it  may  endure  to  the  end  of  life,  like  the 
scar  of  a  wound." 

Dr.  Carpenter's  phrase  that  our  nervous  system  groivs  to 
the  modes  in  which  it  has  been  exercised  expresses  the  philos 
ophy  of  habit  in  a  nutshell.  We  may  now  trace  some  of 
the  practical  applications  of  the  principle  to  human  life. 

The  first  result  of  it  is  that  habit  simplifies  the  movements 
required  to  achieve  a  given  result,  makes  them  more  accurate 
and  diminishes  fatigue. 

1 '  The  beginner  at  the  piano  not  only  moves  his  finger  up  and  down 
in  order  to  depress  the  key,  he  moves  the  whole  hand,  the  forearm  and 
even  the  entire  body,  especially  moving  its  least  rigid  part,  the  head, 
as  if  he  would  press  down  the  key  with  that  organ  too.  Often  a  con 
traction  of  the  abdominal  muscles  occurs  as  well.  Principally,  however, 
the  impulse  is  determined  to  the  motion  of  the  hand  and  of  the  single 
finger.  This  is,  in  the  first  place,  because  the  movement  of  the  finger 
is  the  movement  thought  of,  and,  in  the  second  place,  because  its  move 
ment  and  that  of  the  key  are  the  movements  we  try  to  perceive,  along 
with  the  results  of  the  latter  on  the  ear.  The  more  often  the  process 


HABIT.  113 

is  repeated,  the  more  easily  the  movement  follows,  on  account  of  the 
increase  in  permeability  of  the  nerves  engaged. 

"But  the  more  easily  the  movement  occurs,  the  slighter  is  the 
stimulus  required  to  set  it  up ;  and  the  slighter  the  stimulus  is,  the 
more  its  effect  is  confined  to  the  fingers  alone. 

"  Thus,  an  impulse  which  originally  spread  its  effects  over  the  whole 
body,  or  at  least  over  many  of  its  movable  parts,  is  gradually  deter 
mined  to  a  single  definite  organ,  in  which  it  effects  the  contraction  of 
a  few  limited  muscles.  In  this  change  the  thoughts  and  perceptions 
which  start  the  impulse  acquire  more  and  more  intimate  causal  relations 
with  a  particular  group  of  motor  nerves. 

"  To  recur  to  a  simile,  at  least  partially  apt,  imagine  the  nervous 
system  to  represent  a  drainage-system,  inclining,  on  the  whole,  toward 
certain  muscles,  but  with  the  escape  thither  somewhat  clogged.  Then 
streams  of  water  will,  on  the  whole,  tend  most  to  fill  the  drains  that 
go  towards  these  muscles  and  to  wash  out  the  escape.  In  case  of  a 
sudden  '  flushing,'  however,  the  whole  system  of  channels  will  fill  itself, 
and  the  water  overflow  everywhere  before  it  escapes.  But  a  moderate 
quantity  of  water  invading  the  system  will  flow  through  the  proper 
escape  alone. 

"  Just  so  with  the  piano-player.  As  soon  as  his  impulse,  which  has 
gradually  learned  to  confine  itself  to  single  muscles,  grows  extreme, 
it  overflows  into  larger  muscular  regions.  He  usually  plays  with  his 
fingers,  his  body  being  at  rest.  But  no  sooner  does  he  get  excited  than 
his  whole  body  becomes  'animated,'  and  he  moves  his  head  and  trunk, 
in  particular,  as  if  these  also  were  organs  with  which  he  meant  to 
belabor  the  keys."* 

Man  is  born  with  a  tendency  to  do  more  things  than  he 
has  ready-made  arrangements  for  in  his  nerve-centres. 
Most  of  the  performances  of  other  animals  are  automatic. 
But  in  him  the  number  of  them  is  so  ^normous,  that  most 
of  them  must  be  the  fruit  of  painful  study.  If  practice  did 
not  make  perfect,  nor  habit  economize  the  expense  of  ner 
vous  and  muscular  energy,  he  would  therefore  be  in  a  sorry 
plight.  As  Dr.  Maudsley  says  :  f 

"If  an  act  became  no  easier  after  being  done  several  times,  if  the 
careful  direction  of  consciousness  were  necessary  to  its  accomplishment 
on  each  occasion,  it  is  evident  that  the  whole  activity  of  a  lifetime  might 
be  confined  to  one  or  two  deeds — that  no  progress  could  take  place  in 
development.  A  man  might  be  occupied  all  day  in  dressing  and  un- 

*  G.  H.  Schneider  :  '  Der  menschliche  Wille  '  (1882),  pp.  417-419  (freely 
translated).  For  the  drain-simile,  see  also  Spencer's  'Psychology,'  part 
v,  chap.  vm. 

f  Physiology  of  Mind,  p.  155. 


114  PSYCHOLOGY. 

dressing  himself ;  the  attitude  of  his  body  would  absorb  all  his  atten- 
tion  and  energy  ;  the  washing  of  his  hands  or  the  fastening  of  a  button 
would  be  as  difficult  to  him  on  each  occasion  as  to  the  child  on  its  first 
trial ;  and  he  would,  furthermore,  be  completely  exhausted  by  his  ex 
ertions.  Think  of  the  pains  necessary  to  teach  a  child  to  stand,  of  the 
many  efforts  which  it  must  make,  and  of  the  ease  with  which  it  at 
last  stands,  unconscious  of  any  effort.  For  while  secondarily  auto 
matic  acts  are  accomplished  with  comparatively  little  weariness — in 
this  regard  approaching  the  organic  movements,  or  the  original  reflex 
movements — the  conscious  effort  of  the  will  soon  produces  exhaus 
tion.  A  spinal  cord  without  .  .  „  memory  would  simply  be  an  idiotic 
spinal  cord.  ...  It  is  impossible  for  an  individual  to  realize  how 
much  he  owes  to  its  automatic  agency  until  disease  has  impaired  its 
functions." 

The  next  result  is  that  habit  diminishes  the  conscious  atten 
tion  loith  which  our  acts  are  performed. 

One  may  state  this  abstractly  thus  :  If  an  act  require  for 
its  execution  a  chain,  A,  B,  C,  D,  E,  F,  G,  etc.,  of  successive 
nervous  events,  then  in  the  first  performances  of  the  action 
the  conscious  will  must  choose  each  of  these  events  from  a 
number  of  wrong  alternatives  that  tend  to  present  them 
selves  ;  but  habit  soon  brings  it  about  that  each  event  calls 
up  its  own  appropriate  successor  without  any  alternative 
offering  itself,  and  without  any  reference  to  the  conscious 
will,  until  at  last  the  whole  chain,  A,  B,  C,  J},  E,  F,  G,  rattles 
itself  off  as  soon  as  A  occurs,  just  as  if  A  and  the  rest  of 
the  chain  were  fused  into  a  continuous  stream.  When  we 
are  learning  to  walk,  to  ride,  to  swim,  skate,  fence,  write, 
play,  or  sing,  we  interrupt  ourselves  at  every  step  by  un 
necessary  movements  and  false  notes.  When  we  are  pro 
ficients,  on  the  contrary,  the  results  not  only  follow  with 
the  very  minimum  of  muscular  action  requisite  to  bring  them 
forth,  they  also  follow  from  a  single  instantaneous  <  cue.' 
The  marksman  sees  the  bird,  and,  before  he  knows  it,  he 
has  aimed  and  shot.  A  gleam  in  his  adversary's  eye,  a 
momentary  pressure  from  his  rapier,  and  the  fencer  finds 
that  he  has  instantly  made  the  right  parry  and  return.  A 
glance  at  the  musical  hieroglyphics,  and  the  pianist's  fingers 
have  rippled  through  a  cataract  of  notes.  And  not  only 
is  it  the  right  thing  at  the  right  time  that  we  thus  involun 
tarily  do,  but  the  wrong  thing  also,  if  it  be  an  habitual 


HABIT.  115 

thing.  Who  is  there  that  has  never  wound  up  his  watch  on 
taking  oft*  his  waistcoat  in  the  daytime,  or  taken  his  latch 
key  out  on  arriving  at  the  door-step  of  a  friend  ?  Very 
absent-minded  persons  in  going  to  their  bedroom  to  dress 
for  dinner  have  been  known  to  take  off  one  garment  after 
another  and  finally  to  get  into  bed,  merely  because  that  was 
the  habitual  issue  of  the  first  few  movements  when  per 
formed  at  a  later  hour.  The  writer  well  remembers  how, 
on  revisiting  Paris  after  ten  years'  absence,  and,  finding 
himself  in  the  street  in  which  for  one  winter  he  had  attended 
school,  he  lost  himself  in  a  brown  study,  from  which  he  was 
awakened  by  finding  himself  upon  the  stairs  which  led  to 
the  apartment  in  a  house  many  streets  away  in  which  he 
had  lived  during  that  earlier  time,  and  to  which  his  steps 
from  the  school  had  then  habitually  led.  We  all  of  us  have 
a  definite  routine  manner  of  performing  certain  daily  offices 
connected  with  the  toilet,  with  the  opening  and  shutting  of 
familiar  cupboards,  and  the  like.  Our  lower  centres  know 
the  order  of  these  movements,  and  show  their  knowledge 
by  their  '  surprise '  if  the  objects  are  altered  so  as  to  oblige 
the  movement  to  be  made  in  a  different  way.  But  our 
higher  thought-centres  know  hardly  anything  about  the 
matter.  Few  men  can  tell  off-hand  which  sock,  shoe,  or 
trousers-leg  they  put  on  first.  They  must  first  mentally 
rehearse  the  act ;  and  even  that  is  often  insufficient — 
the  act  must  be  performed.  So  of  the  questions,  Which 
valve  of  my  double  door  opens  first  ?  Which  way  does  my 
door  swing  ?  etc.  I  cannot  tell  the  answer  ;  yet  my  hand 
never  makes  a  mistake.  iSo  one  can  describe  the  order  in 
which  he  brushes  his  hair  or  teeth ;  yet  it  is  likely  that  the 
order  is  a  pretty  fixed  one  in  all  of  us. 

These  results  may  be  expressed  as  follows : 
In  action  grown  habitual,  what  instigates  each  new 
muscular  contraction  to  take  place  in  its  appointed  order 
is  not  a  thought  or  a  perception,  but  the  sensation  occa 
sioned  by  the  muscular  contraction  just  finished.  A  strictly 
voluntary  act  has  to  be  guided  by  idea,  perception,  and 
volition,  throughout  its  whole  course.  In  an  habitual  ac 
tion,  mere  sensation  is  a  sufficient  guide,  and  the  upper 


116  PSYCHOLOGY. 

regions  of  brain  and  mind  are  set  comparatively  free,     i 
diagram  will  make  the  matter  clear  : 

G* 


FIG.  24. 


Let  A,  B,  C,  D,  E,  F,  G  represent  an  habitual  chain  of 
muscular  contractions,  and  let  a,  b,  c,  d,  e,  f  stand  for  the 
respective  sensations  which  these  contractions  excite  in  us 
when  they  are  successively  performed.  Such  sensations 
will  usually  be  of  the  muscles,  skin,  or  joints  of  the  parts 
moved,  but  they  may  also  be  effects  of  the  movement  upon 
the  eye  or  the  ear.  Through  them,  and  through  them 
alone,  we  are  made  aware  whether  the  contraction  has  or 
has  not  occurred.  When  the  series,  A,  B,  C,  D,  E,  F,  G,  is 
being  learned,  each  of  these  sensations  becomes  the  object 
of  a  separate  perception  by  the  mind.  By  it  we  test  each 
movement,  to  see  if  it  be  right  before  advancing  to  the  next. 
We  hesitate,  compare,  choose,  revoke,  reject,  etc.,  by  intel' 
lectual  means ;  and  the  order  by  which  the  next  movement 
is  discharged  is  an  express  order  from  the  ideational  centres 
after  this  deliberation  has  been  gone  through. 

In  habitual  action,  on  the  contrary,  the  only  impulse 
which  the  centres  of  idea  or  perception  need  send  down  is 
the  initial  impulse,  the  command  to  start.  This  is  repre 
sented  in  the  diagram  by  V\  it  may  be  a  thought  of  the 
first  movement  or  of  the  last  result,  or  a  mere  perception 
of  some  of  the  habitual  conditions  of  the  chain,  the  presence, 
e.g.,  of  the  keyboard  near  the  hand.  In  the  present  case, 
no  sooner  has  the  conscious  thought  or  volition  instigated 
movement  A,  than  A,  through  the  sensation  a  of  its  own 
occurrence,  awakens  B  reflexly ;  B  then  excites  C  through 
by  and  so  on  till  the  chain  is  ended,  when  the  intellect  gen 
erally  takes  cognizance  of  the  final  result.  The  process,  in 
fact,  resembles  the  passage  of  a  wave  of  '  peristaltic '  motion 


HABIT.  117 

down  the  bowels.  The  intellectual  perception  at  the  end 
is  indicated  in  the  diagram  by  the  effect  of  G  being  repre 
sented,  at  G',  in  the  ideational  centres  above  the  merely 
sensational  line.  The  sensational  impressions,  a,  6,  c,  d,  e,f, 
are  all  supposed  to  have  their  seat  below  the  ideational 
lines.  That  our  ideational  centres,  if  involved  at  all  by  a, 
I,  c,  d,  e,f,  are  involved  in  a  minimal  degree,  is  shown  by 
the  fact  that  the  attention  may  be  wholly  absorbed  else 
where.  "We  may  say  our  prayers,  or  repeat  the  alphabet, 
with  our  attention  far  away. 

"  A  musical  performer  will  play  a  piece  which  has  become  familiar 
by  repetition  while  carrying  on  an  animated  conversation,  or  while  con 
tinuously  engrossed  by  some  train  of  deeply  interesting  thought;  the 
accustomed  sequence  of  movements  being  directly  prompted  by  the 
sight  of  the  notes,  or  by  the  remembered  succession  of  the  sounds  (if 
the  piece  is  played  from  memory),  aided  in  both  cases  by  the  guiding 
sensations  derived  from  the  muscles  themselves.  But,  further,  a  higher 
degree  of  the  same  '  training '  (acting  on  an  organism  specially  fitted  to 
profit  by  it)  enables  an  accomplished  pianist  to  play  a  difficult  piece  of 
music  at  sight;  the  movements  of  the  hands  and  fingers  following  so 
immediately  upon  the  sight  of  the  notes  that  it  seems  impossible  to 
believe  that  any  but  the  very  shortest  and  most  direct  track  can  be  the 
channel  of  the  nervous  communication  through  which  they  are  called 
forth.  The  following  curious  example  of  the  same  class  of  acquired 
aptitudes,  which  differ  from  instincts  only  in  being  prompted  to  action 
by  the  will,  is  furnished  by  Robert  Houdin  : 

"  '  With  a  view  of  cultivating  the  rapidity  of  visual  and  tactile  per 
ception,  and  the  precision  of  respondent  movements,  which  are  neces 
sary  for  success  in  every  kind  of  prestidigitation,  Houdin  early  practised 
the  art  of  juggling  with  balls  in  the  air;  and  having,  after  a  month's 
practice,  become  thorough  master  of  the  art  of  keeping  up  four  balls  at 
once,  he  placed  a  book  before  him,  and,  while  the  balls  were  in  the  air, 
accustomed  himself  to  read  without  hesitation.  '  This,'  he  says,  '  will 
probably  seem  to  my  readers  very  extraordinary;  but  I  shall  surprise 
them  still  more  when  I  say  that  I  have  just  amused  myself  with  repeat 
ing  this  curious  experiment.  Though  thirty  years  have  elapsed  since 
the  time  I  was  writing,  and  though  I  have  scarcely  once  touched  the 
balls  during  that  period,  I  can  still  manage  to  read  with  ease  while 
keeping  three  balls  up.'  "  (Autobiography,  p.  26.)* 

We  have  called  a,  1),  c,  d,  e,  /,  the  antecedents  of  the  suc 
cessive  muscular  attractions,  by  the  name  of  sensations. 
Some  authors  seem  to  deny  that  they  are  even  this.  If  not 

*  Carpenter's  '  Mental  Physiology  '  (1874),  pp.  217,  218. 


118  PSYCHOLOGY. 

even  this,  they  can  only  be  centripetal  nerve-currents,  not 
sufficient  to  arouse  feeling,  but  sufficient  to  arouse  motor 
response.*  It  may  be  at  once  admitted  that  they  are  not 
distinct  volitions.  The  will,  if  any  will  be  present,  limits 
itself  to  a  permission  that  they  exert  their  motor  effects. 
Dr.  Carpenter  writes : 

"There  may  still  be  metaphysicians  who  maintain  that  actions 
which  were  originally  prompted  by  the  will  with  a  distinct  intention, 
and  which  are  still  entirely  under  its  control,  can  never  cease  to  be 
volitional;  and  that  either  an  infinitesimally  small  amount  of  will  is 
required  to  sustain  them  when  they  have  been  once  set  going,  or  that 
the  will  is  in  a  sort  of  pendulum-like  oscillation  between  the  two  actions 
— the  maintenance  of  the  train  of  thought,  and  the  maintenance  of  the 
train  of  movement.  But  if  only  an  infinitesimally  small  amount  of  will 
is  necessary  to  sustain  them,  is  not  this  tantamount  to  saying  that  they 
go  on  by  a  force  of  their  own  ?  And  does  not  the  experience  of  the 
perfect  continuity  of  our  train  of  thought  during  the  performance  of 
movements  that  have  become  habitual,  entirely  negative  the  hypothesis 
of  oscillation  ?  Besides,  if  such  an  oscillation  existed,  there  must  be 
intervals  in  which  each  action  goes  on  of  itself;  so  that  its  essentially 
automatic  character  is  virtually  admitted.  The  physiological  explana 
tion,  that  the  mechanism  of  locomotion,  as  of  other  habitual  move 
ments,  grows  to  the  mode  in  which  it  is  early  exercised,  and  that  it  then 
works  automatically  under  the  general  control  and  direction  of  the  will, 
can  scarcely  be  put  down  by  any  assumption  of  an  hypothetical  neces 
sity,  which  rests  only  on  the  basis  of  ignorance  of  one  side  of  our  com 
posite  nature."! 

But  if  not  distinct  acts  of  will,  these  immediate  ante 
cedents  of  each  movement  of  the  chain  are  at  any  rate 
accompanied  by  consciousness  of  some  kind.  They  are 
sensations  to  which  we  are  usually  inattentive,  but  which  im 
mediately  call  our  attention  if  they  go  ivrong.  Schneider's 
account  of  these  sensations  deserves  to  be  quoted.  In  the 
act  of  walking,  he  says,  even  when  our  attention  is  entirely 
off, 

"we  are  continuously  aware  of  certain  muscular  feelings;  and  we 
have,  moreover,  a  feeling  of  certain  impulses  to  keep  our  equilibrium 
and  to  set  down  one  leg  after  another.  It  is  doubtful  whether  we  could 
preserve  equilibrium  if  no  sensation  of  our  body's  attitude  were  there, 

*  Von  Hartraann  devotes  a  chapter  of  his  '  Philosophy  of  the  Uncon 
scious  '  (English  translation,  vol.  i.  p.  72)  to  proving  that  they  must  be 
both  ideas  and  unconscious. 

f  '  Mental  Physiology,'  p.  20. 


HABIT.  119 

and  doubtful  whether  we  should  advance  our  leg  if  we  had  no  sensation 
of  its  movement  as  executed,  and  not  even  a  minimal  feeling  of  impulse 
to  set  it  down.  Knitting  appears  altogether  mechanical,  and  the  knitter 
keeps  up  her  knitting  even  while  she  reads  or  is  engaged  in  lively  talk. 
But  if  we  ask  her  how  this  be  possible,  she  will  hardly  reply  that  the 
knitting  goes  on  of  itself.  She  will  rather  say  that  she  has  a  feeling  of 
it,  that  she  feels  in  her  hands  that  she  knits  and  how  she  must  knit,  and 
that  therefore  the  movements  of  knitting  are  called  forth  and  regulated 
by  the  sensations  associated  therewithal,  even  when  the  attention  is 
called  away. 

"So  of  everyone  who  practises,  apparently  automatically,  along- 
familiar  handicraft.  The  smith  turning  his  tongs  as  he  smites  the  iron, 
the  carpenter  wielding  his  plane,  the  lace-maker  with  her  bobbin,  the 
weaver  at  his  loom,  all  will  answer  the  same  question  in  the  same  way 
by  saying  that  they  have  a  feeling  of  the  proper  management  of  the 
implement  in  their  hands. 

"  In  these  cases,  the  feelings  which  are  conditions  of  the  appropriate 
acts  are  very  faint.  But  none  the  less  are  they  necessary.  Imagine 
your  hands  not  feeling;  your  movements  could  then  only  be  provoked 
by  ideas,  and  if  your  ideas  were  then  diverted  away,  the  movements 
ought  to  come  to  a  standstill,  which  is  a  consequence  that  seldom 
occurs."  * 

Again : 

"  An  idea  makes  you  take,  for  example,  a  violin  into  your  left  hand. 
But  it  is  not  necessary  that  your  idea  remain  fixed  on  the  contrac 
tion  of  the  muscles  of  the  left  hand  and  fingers  in  order  that  the 
violin  may  continue  to  be  held  fast  and  not  let  fall.  The  sensations 
themselves  which  the  holding  of  the  instrument  awakens  in  the  hand, 
since  they  are  associated  with  the  motor  impulse  of  grasping,  are  suf 
ficient  to  cause  this  impulse,  which  then  lasts  as  long  as  the  feeling 
itself  lasts,  or  until  the  impulse  is  inhibited  by  the  idea  of  some  antag 
onistic  motion." 

And  the  same  may  be  said  of  the  manner  in  which  the  right 
hand  holds  the  bow  : 

"  It  sometimes  happens,  in  beginning  these  simultaneous  combina 
tions,  that  one  movement  or  impulse  will  cease  if  the  consciousness 
turn  particularly  toward  another,  because  at  the  outset  the  guiding 
sensations  must  all  be  strongly  felt.  The  bow  will  perhaps  slip  from 
the  fingers,  because  some  of  the  muscles  have  relaxed.  But  the 
slipping  is  a  cause  of  new  sensations  starting  up  in  the  hand,  so  that 
the  attention  is  in  a  moment  brought  back  to  the  grasping  of  the  bow. 

' '  The  following  experiment  shows  this  well :  When  one  begins  to 
play  on  the  violin,  to  keep  him  from  raising  his  right  elbow  in  playing 

*  '  Der  menschliche  Wille,'  pp.  447,  44& 


120  PSYCHOLOGY. 

a  book  is  placed  under  his  right  armpit,  which  he  is  ordered  to  hold 
fast  by  keeping  the  upper  arm  tight  against  his  body.  The  muscular 
feelings,  and  feelings  of  contact  connected  with  the  book,  provoke  an 
impulse  to  press  it  tight.  But  often  it  happens  that  the  beginner, 
whose  attention  gets  absorbed  in  the  production  of  the  notes,  lets  drop 
the  book.  Later,  however,  this  never  happens;  the  faintest  sensations 
of  contact  suffice  to  awaken  the  impulse  to  keep  it  in  its  place,  and  the 
attention  may  be  wholly  absorbed  by  the  notes  and  the  fingering  with 
the  left  hand.  The  simultaneous  combination  of  movements  is  thus 
in  the  first  instance  conditioned  by  the  facility  with  which  in  us,  along 
side  of  intellectual  processes,  processes  of  inattentive  feeling  may  still 


This  brings  us  by  a  very  natural  transition  to  the  ethical 
implications  of  the  law  of  habit.  They  are  numerous  and 
momentous.  Dr.  Carpenter,  from  whose  '  Mental  Physiol 
ogy  '  we  have  quoted,  has  so  prominently  enforced  the 
principle  that  our  organs  grow  to  the  way  in  which  they 
have  been  exercised,  and  dwelt  upon  its  consequences,  that 
his  book  almost  deserves  to  be  called  a  work  of  edification, 
on  this  account  alone.  We  need  make  no  apology,  then, 
for  tracing  a  few  of  these  consequences  ourselves : 

"  Habit  a  second  nature !  Habit  is  ten  times  nature," 
the  Duke  of  Wellington  is  said  to  have  exclaimed ;  and  the 
degree  to  which  this  is  true  no  one  can  probably  appreciate 
as  well  as  one  who  is  a  veteran  soldier  himself.  The  daily 
drill  and  the  years  of  discipline  end  by  fashioning  a  man 
completely  over  again,  as  to  most  of  the  possibilities  of  his 
conduct. 

"  There  is  a  story,  which  is  credible  enough,  though  it  may  not 
be  true,  of  a  practical  joker,  who,  seeing  a  discharged  veteran 
carrying  home  his  dinner,  suddenly  called  out,  *  Attention  ! '  where 
upon  the  man  instantly  brought  his  hands  down,  and  lost  his  mutton 
and  potatoes  in  the  gutter.  The  drill  had  been  thorough,  and  its 
effects  had  become  embodied  in  the  man's  nervous  structure."  t 

Kiderless  cavalry-horses,  at  many  a  battle,  have  been 

seen  to  come  together  and  go  through  their  customary 

I  evolutions  at  the  sound  of  the  bugle-call.     Most  trained 

domestic  animals,  dogs  and  oxen,  and  omnibus-  and  car- 

*  'Der  menschliche  Wille,'  p.  439.  The  last  sentence  is  rather  freely 
translated — the  sense  is  uualtered. 


f  Huxley's  'Elementary  Lessons  in  Physiology,'  lesson 


xn. 


HABIT.  121 

horses,  seem  to  be  machines  almost  pure  and  simple,  un- 
doubtingly,  unhesitatingly  doing  from  minute  to  minute  the 
duties  they  have  been  taught,  and  giving  no  sign  that  the 
possibility  of  an  alternative  ever  suggests  itself  to  their 
mind.  Men  grown  old  in  prison  have  asked  to  be  read 
mitted  after  being  once  set  free.  In  a  railroad  accident  to 
a  travelling  menagerie  in  the  United  States  some  time  in 
1884,  a  tiger,  whose  cage  had  broken  open,  is  said  to  have 
emerged,  but  presently  crept  back  again,  as  if  too  much 
bewildered  by  his  new  responsibilities,  so  that  he  was  with 
out  difficulty  secured. 

Habit  is  thus  the  enormous  fly-wheel  of  society,  its  most 
precious  conservative  agent.  It  alone  is  what  keeps  us  all 
within  the  bounds  of  ordinance,  and  saves  the  children  of 
fortune  from  the  envious  uprisings  of  the  poor.  It  alone 
prevents  the  hardest  and  most  repulsive  walks  of  life  from 
being  deserted  by  those  brought  up  to  tread  therein.  It 
keeps  the  fisherman  and  the  deck-hand  at  sea  through  the 
winter ;  it  holds  the  miner  in  his  darkness,  and  nails  the 
countryman  to  his  log-cabin  and  his  lonely  farm  through 
all  the  months  of  snow  ;  it  protects  us  from  invasion  by  the 
natives  of  the  desert  and  the  frozen  zone.  It  dooms  us  all 
to  fight  out  the  battle  of  life  upon  the  lines  of  our  nurture 
or  our  early  choice,  and  to  make  the  best  of  a  pursuit  that 
disagrees,  because  there  is  no  other  for  which  we  are  fitted, 
and  it  is  too  late  to  begin  again.  It  keeps  different  social 
strata  from  mixing.  Already  at  the  age  of  twenty-five  you 
see  the  professional  mannerism  settling  down  on  the  young 
commercial  traveller,  on  the  young  doctor,  on  the  young 
minister,  on  the  young  counsellor-at-law.  You  see  the  little 
lines  of  cleavage  running  through  the  character,  the  tricks 
of  thought,  the  prejudices,  the  ways  of  the  '  shop,'  in  a 
word,  from  which  the  man  can  by-and-by  no  more  escape 
than  his  coat-sleeve  can  suddenly  fall  into  a  new  set  of 
folds.  On  the  whole,  it  is  best  he  should  not  escape.  It 
is  well  for  the  world  that  in  most  of  us,  by  the  age  of  thirty, 
the  character  has  set  like  plaster,  and  will  never  soften 
again. 

If  the  period  between  twenty  and  thirty  is  the  critical 
one  in  the  formation  of  intellectual  and  professional  habits, 


122  PSYCHOLOGY. 

the  period  below  twenty  is  more  important  still  for  the  fix 
ing  of  personal  habits,  properly  so  called,  such  as  vocaliza 
tion  and  pronunciation,  gesture,  motion,  and  address. 
Hardly  ever  is  a  language  learned  after  twenty  spoken 
without  a  foreign  accent ;  hardly  ever  can  a  youth  trans 
ferred  to  the  society  of  his  betters  unlearn  the  nasality  and 
other  vices  of  speech  bred  in  him  by  the  associations  of 
his  growing  years.  Hardly  ever,  indeed,  no  matter  how 
much  money  there  be  in  his  pocket,  can  he  even  learn  to 
dress  like  a  gentleman-born.  The  merchants  offer  their 
wares  as  eagerly  to  him  as  to  the  veriest  '  swell,'  but  he 
simply  cannot  buy  the  right  things.  An  invisible  law,  as 
strong  as  gravitation,  keeps  him  within  his  orbit,  arrayed 
this  year  as  he  was  the  last;  and  how  his  better-bred 
acquaintances  contrive  to  get  the  things  they  wear  will  be 
for  him  a  mystery  till  his  dying  day. 

The  great  thing,  then,  in  all  education,  is  to  make  our 

j  nervous  system  our  ally  instead  of  our  enemy.      It  is  to  fund 

*  and  capitalize  our  acquisitions,  aiid  live  at  ease  upon  the 
interest  of  the  fund.  For  this  we  must  make  automatic  and 
habitual,  as  early  as  possible,  as  many  useful  actions  as  we  cant 
and  guard  against  the  growing  into  ways  that  are  likely  to 
be  disadvantageous  to  us,  as  we  should  guard  against  the 

'•  plague.  The  more  of  the  details  of  our  daily  life  we  can 
hand  over  to  the  effortless  custody  of  automatism,  the  more 
our  higher  powers  of  mind  will  be  set  free  for  their  own 
proper  work.  There  is  no  more  miserable  human  being 
than  one  in  whom  nothing  is  habitual  but  indecision,  and 
for  whom  the  lighting  of  every  cigar,  the  drinking  of  every 

,  cup,  the  time  of  rising  and  going  to  bed  every  day,  and 
the  beginning  of  every  bit  of  work,  are  subjects  of  express 

'  volitional  deliberation.  Full  half  the  time  of  such  a  man 
goes  to  the  deciding,  or  regretting,  of  matters  which  ought 
to  be  so  ingrained  in  him  as  practically  not  to  exist  for  his 
consciousness  at  all.  If  there  be  such  daily  duties  not  yet 
ingrained  in  any  one  of  my  readers,  let  him  begin  this  very 
hour  to  set  the  matter  right. 

In  Professor  Bain's  chapter  on  'The  Moral  Habits' 
there  are  some  admirable  practical  remarks  laid  down. 
Two  great  maxims  emerge  from  his  treatment.  The  first 


HABIT.  123 

is  tliat  in  the  acquisition  of  a  new  habit,  or  the  leaving  off 
of  an  old  one,  we  must  take  care  to  launch  ourselves  with  as  A 
strong  and  decided  an  initiative  as  possible.  Accumulate  all 
the  possible  circumstances  which  shall  re-enforce  the  right 
motives ;  put  yourself  assiduously  in  conditions  that  en 
courage  the  new  way ;  make  engagements  incompatible 
with  the  old ;  take  a  public  pledge,  if  the  case  allows ;  in 
short,  envelop  your  resolution  with  every  aid  you  know. 
This  will  give  your  new  beginning  such  a  momentum  that 
the  temptation  to  break  down  will  not  occur  as  soon  as  it 
otherwise  might ;  and  every  day  during  which  a  breakdown 
is  postponed  adds  to  the  chances  of  its  not  occurring  at  all. 
The  second  maxim  is  :  Never  suffer  an  exception  to  occur 
till  the  new  habit  is  securely  rooted  in  your  life.  Each  lapse 
is  like  the  letting  fall  of  a  ball  of  string  which  one  is  care 
fully  winding  up ;  a  single  slip  undoes  more  than  a  great 
many  turns  will  wind  again.  Continuity  of  training  is  the 
great  means  of  making  the  nervous  system  act  infallibly 
right.  As  Professor  Bain  says  : 

"The  peculiarity  of  the  moral  habits,  contradistinguishing  them 
from  the  intellectual  acquisitions,  is  the  presence  of  two  hostile  powers, 
one  to  be  gradually  raised  into  the  ascendant  over  the  other.  It  is 
necessary,  above  all  things,  in  such  a  situation,  never  to  lose  a  battle. 
Every  gain  on  the  wrong  side  undoes  the  effect  of  many  conquests  on 
the  right.  The  essential  precaution,  therefore,  is  so  to  regulate  the  ' 
two  opposing  powers  that  the  one  may  have  a  series  of  uninterrupted 
successes,  until  repetition  has  fortified  it  to  such  a  degree  as  to  enable 
it  to  cope  with  the  opposition,  under  any  circumstances.  This  is  the 
theoretically  best  career  of  mental  progress." 

The  need  of  securing  success  at  the  outset  is  imperative. 
Failure  at  first  is  apt  to  dampen  the  energy  of  all  future 
attempts,  whereas  past  experience  of  success  nerves  one  to 
future  vigor.  Goethe  says  to  a  man  who  consulted  him 
about  an  enterprise  but  mistrusted  his  own  powers  :  "Ach ! 
you  need  only  blow  on  your  hands !  "  And  the  remark 
illustrates  the  effect  on  Goethe's  spirits  of  his  own  habitu 
ally  successful  career.  Prof.  Baumann,  from  whom  I  bor 
row  the  anecdote,*  says  that  the  collapse  of  barbarian 

*  See  the  admirable  passage  about  success  at  the  outset,  in  his  Handbuch 
der  Moral  (1878),  pp.  38-43. 


124  PSYCHOLOGY. 

nations  when  Europeans  come  among  them  is  due  to  their 
despair  of  ever  succeeding  as  the  new-comers  do  in  the 
larger  tasks  of  life.  Old  ways  are  broken  and  new  ones 
not  formed. 

The  question  of  'tapering-off,'  in  abandoning  such 
habits  as  drink  and  opium-indulgence,  comes  in  here,  and 
is  a  question  about  which  experts  differ  within  certain 
limits,  and  in  regard  to  what  may  be  best  for  an  individual 
case.  In  the  main,  however,  all  expert  opinion  would 
agree  that  abrupt  acquisition  of  the  new  habit  is  the  best 
way,  'if  there  be  a  real  possibility  of  carrying  it  out.  We 
must  be  careful  not  to  give  the  will  so  stiff  a  task  as  to  in 
sure  its  defeat  at  the  very  outset;  but,  provided  one  can 
stand  it,  a  sharp  period  of  suffering,  and  then  a  free  time, 
is  the  best  thing  to  aim  at,  whether  in  giving  up  a  habit 
like  that  of  opium,  or  in  simply  changing  one's  hours  of 
rising  or  of  work.  It  is  surprising  how  soon  a  desire  will 
die  of  inanition  if  it  be  never  fed. 

"  One  must  first  learn,  unmoved,  looking  neither  to  the  right  nor 
left,  to  walk  firmly  on  the  straight  and  narrow  path,  before  one  oan 
begin  'to  make  one's  self  over  again.'  He  who  every  day  makes  a 
fresh  resolve  is  like  one  who,  arriving  at  the  edge  of  the  ditch  he  is  to 
leap,  forever  stops  and  returns  for  a  fresh  run.  Without  unbroken 
.advance  there  is  no  such  thing  as  accumulation  of  the  ethical  forces 
possible,  and  to  make  this  possible,  and  to  exercise  us  and  habituate  us 
in  it,  is  the  sovereign  blessing  of  regular  work."  * 

A  third  maxim  may  be  added  to  the  preceding  pair: 
Seize  the  very  first  possible  opportunity  to  act  on  every  resolu 
tion  you  make,  and  on  every  emotional  prompting  you  may 
experience  in  the  direction  of  the  habits  you  aspire  to  gain.  It 
is  not  in  the  moment  of  their  forming,  but  in  the  moment 
of  their  producing  motor  effects,  that  resolves  and  aspira 
tions  communicate  the  new  'set'  to  the  brain.  As  the 
author  last  quoted  remarks : 

"The  actual  presence  of  the  practical  opportunity  alone  furnishes  the 
fulcrum  upon  which  the  lever  can  rest,  by  means  of  which  the  moral 
will  may  multiply  its  strength,  and  raise  itself  aloft.  He  who  has  no 
solid  ground  to  press  against  will  never  get  beyond  the  stage  of  empty 
gesture-making." 


*  J.  Bahnsen  :  'Beitrage  zu  Charakterologie  '  (1867),  vol.  i.  p.  209. 


HABIT.  125 

No  matter  how  full  a  reservoir  of  maxims  one  may  pos 
sess,  and  no  matter  how  good  one's  sentiments  may  be,  if  one 
have  not  taken  advantage  of  every  concrete  opportunity  to 
^act,  one's  character  may  remain  entirely  unaffected  for  the 
better.  With  mere  good  intentions,  hell  is  proverbially 
paved.  And  this  is  an  obvious  consequence  of  the  prin 
ciples  we  have  laid  down.  A  '  character,'  as  J.  S.  Mill  says, 
lis  a  completely  fashioned  will' ;  and  a  will,  in  the  sense  in 
which  he  means  it,  is  an  aggregate  of  tendencies  to  act  in  a 
firm  and  prompt  and  definite  way  upon  all  the  principal 
emergencies  of  life.  A  tendency  to  act  only  becomes  effec 
tively  ingrained  in  us  in  proportion  to  the  uninterrupted 
frequency  with  which  the  actions  actually  occur,  and  the 
brain  '  grows  '  to  their  use.  Every  time  a  resolve  or  a  fine 
glow  of  feeling  evaporates  without  bearing  practical  fruit  is 
worse  than  a  chance  lost;  it  works  so  as  positively  to 
hinder  future  resolutions  and  emotions  from  taking  the 
normal  path  of  discharge.  There  is  no  more  contemptible 
type  of  human  character  than  that  of  the  nerveless  senti 
mentalist  and  dreamer,  who  spends  his  life  in  a  weltering  - 
sea  of  sensibility  and  emotion,  but  who  never  does  a  manly 
concrete  deed.  Rousseau,  inflaming  all  the  mothers  oft 
France,  by  his  eloquence,  to  follow  Nature  and  nurse  their 
babies  themselves,  while  he  sends  his  own  children  to  the 
foundling  hospital,  is  the  classical  example  of  what  I  mean. 
But  every  one  of  us  in  his  measure,  whenever,  after  glow 
ing  for  an  abstractly  formulated  Good,  he  practically 
ignores  some  actual  case,  among  the  squalid  '  other  partic 
ulars '  of  which  that  same  Good  lurks  disguised,  treads 
straight  on  Rousseau's  path.  All  Goods  are  disguised  by 
the  vulgarity  of  their  concomitants,  in  this  work-a-day 
world ;  but  woe  to  him  who  can  only  recognize  them  when 
he  thinks  them  in  their  pure  and  abstract  form !  The  habit 
of  excessive  novel-reading  and  theatre-going  will  produce 
true  monsters  in  this  line.  The  weeping  of  a  Russian  lady 
over  the  fictitious  personages  in  the  play,  while  her  coach 
man  is  freezing  to  death  on  his  seat  outside,  is  the  sort  of  • 
thing  that  everywhere  happens  on  a  less  glaring  scale. 
Even  the  habit  of  excessive  indulgence  in  music,  for  those 
who  are  neither  performers  themselves  nor  musically  gifted 


126  P8YGHOLOQ7. 

enough  to  take  it  in  a  purely  intellectual  way,  has  probably 
a  relaxing  effect  upon  the  character.  One  becomes  filled 
with  emotions  which  habitually  pass  without  prompting  to 
any  deed,  and  so  the  inertly  sentimental  condition  is  kept 
up.  The  remedy  would  be,  never  to  suffer  one's  self  to 
have  an  emotion  at  a  concert,  without  expressing  it  after 
ward  in  some  active  way.*  Let  the  expression  be  the  least 
thing  in  the  world — speaking  genially  to  one's  aunt,  or 
giving  up  one's  seat  in  a  horse-car,  if  nothing  more  heroic 
'  offers — but  let  it  not  fail  to  take  place. 

These  latter  cases  make  us  aware  that  it  is  not  simply 
particular  lines  of  discharge,  but  also  general  forms  of  dis 
charge,  that  seem  to  be  grooved  out  by  habit  in  the  brain. 
Just  as,  if  we  let  our  emotions  evaporate,  they  get  into  a 
way  of  evaporating ;  so  there  is  reason  to  suppose  that  if 
we  often  flinch  from  making  an  effort,  before  we  know  it  the 
effort-making  capacity  will  be  gone ;  and  that,  if  we  suffer 
the  wandering  of  our  attention,  presently  it  will  wander  all 
the  time.  Attention  and  effort  are,  as  we  shall  see  later, 

***  /but  two  names  for  the  same  psychic  fact.  To  what  brain- 
processes  they  correspond  we  do  not  know.  The  strongest 
reason  for  believing  that  they  do  depend  on  brain-processes 
at  all,  and  are  not  pure  acts  of  the  spirit,  is  just  this  fact, 
that  they  seem  in  some  degree  subject  to  the  law  of  habit, 
which  is  a  material  law.  As  a  final  practical  maxim,  rela 
tive  to  these  habits  of  the  will,  we  may,  then,  offer  some- 

I  I  thing  like  this :  Keep  the  faculty  of  effort  alive  in  you  by  a 
little  gratuitous  exercise  every  day.  That  is,  be  systematic 
ally  ascetic  or  heroic  in  little  unnecessary  points,  do 
'  every  day  or  two  something  for  no  other  reason  than  that 
you  would  rather  not  do  it,  so  that  when  the  hour  of  dire 
need  draws  nigh,  it  may  find  you  not  unnerved  and  untrained 
Ho  stand  the  test.  Asceticism  of  this  sort  is  like  the  insur 
ance  which  a  man  pays  on  his  house  and  goods.  The  tax 
does  him  no  good  at  the  time,  and  possibly  may  never  bring 
him  a  return.  But  if  the  fire  does  come,  his  having  paid  it 
will  be  his  salvation  from  ruin.  So  with  the  man  who  has 

*  See  for  remarks  on  this  subject  a  readable  article  by  Miss  V.  Scudde* 
on 'Musical  Devotees  aiid  Morals/ in  the  Andover  Keview  for  January 
1887. 


HABIT.  127 

daily  inured  himself  to  habits  of  concentrated  attention,    j  ^  j^ 
energetic  volition,  and  self-denial  in  unnecessary  things.    ) 
He  will  stand  like  a  tower  when  everything  rocks  around 
him,  and  when  his  softer  fellow-mortals  are  winnowed  like 
chaff  in  the  blast. 

The  physiological  study  of  mental  conditions  is  thus  the 
most  powerful  ally  of  hortatory  ethics.  The  hell  to  be 
endured  hereafter,  of  which  theology  tells,  is  no  worse  than 
the  hell  we  make  for  ourselves  in  this  world  by  habitually  \/)  X) 
fashioning  our  characters  in  the  wrong  way.  Could  the  / 
young  but  realize  how  soon  they  will  become  mere  walking 
bundles  of  habits,  they  would  give  more  heed  to  their  con 
duct  while  in  the  plastic  state.  We  are  spinning  our  own 
fates,  good  or  evil,  and  never  to  be  undone.  Every  smallest 
stroke  of  virtue  or  of  vice  leaves  its  never  so  little  scar. 
The  drunken  Kip  Van  Winkle,  in  Jefferson's  play,  excuses 
himself  for  every  fresh  dereliction  by  saying,  'I  won't  count  (  / 
this  time ! '  Well !  he  may  not  count  it,  and  a  kind  Heaven 
may  not  count  it ;  but  it  is  being  counted  none  the  less. 
Down  among  his  nerve-cells  and  fibres  the  molecules  are 
counting  it,  registering  and  storing  it  up  to  be  used  against 
him  when  the  next  temptation  comes.  Nothing  v\re  ever  do 
is,  in  strict  scientific  literalness,  wiped  out.  Of  course,  this 
has  its  good  side  as  well  as  its  bad  one.  As  we  become 
permanent  drunkards  by  so  many  separate  drinks,  so  wre 
become  saints  in  the  moral,  and  authorities  and  experts  in 
the  practical  and  scientific  spheres,  by  so  many  separate  f 
acts  and  hours  of  work.  Let  no  youth  have  any  anxiety 
about  the  upshot  of  his  education,  whatever  the  line  of  it  may 
be.  If  he  keep  faithfully  busy  each  hour  of  the  working-  ^/ 
day,  he  may  safely  leave  the  final  result  to  itself.  He  can 
with  perfect  certainty  count  on  waking  up  some  fine  morn 
ing,  to  find  himself  one  of  the  competent  ones  of  his  gen 
eration,  in  whatever  pursuit  he  may  have  singled  out. 
Silently,  between  all  the  details  of  his  business,  the  poiver  oj  ^ 
judging  in  all  that  class  of  matter  will  have  built  itself  up 
within  him  as  a  possession  that  will  never  pass  away. ' 
Young  people  should  know  this  truth  in  advance.  The 
ignorance  of  it  has  probably  engendered  more  discourage 
ment  and  faint-lieartedness  in  youths  embarking  on  arduous 
careers  than  all  other  causes  put  together. 


CHAPTER  V. 

THE  AUTOMATON-THEORY. 

IN  describing  the  functions  of  the  hemispheres  a  short 
way  back,  we  used  language  derived  from  both  the  bodily 
and  the  mental  life,  saying  now  that  the  animal  made  inde 
terminate  and  unforeseeable  reactions,  and  anon  that  he 
was  swayed  by  considerations  of  future  good  and  evil ; 
treating  his  hemispheres  sometimes  as  the  seat  of  mem 
ory  and  ideas  in  the  psychic  sense,  and  sometimes  talk 
ing  of  them  as  simply  a  complicated  addition  to  his 
reflex  machinery.  This  sort  of  vacillation  in  the  point  of 
view  is  a  fatal  incident  of  all  ordinary  talk  about  these 
questions  ;  but  I  must  now  settle  my  scores  with  those 
readers  to  whom  I  already  dropped  a  word  in  passing  (see 
page  24,  note)  and  who  have  probably  been  dissatisfied 
with  my  conduct  ever  since. 

Suppose  we  restrict  our  view  to  facts  of  one  and  the  same 
plane,  and  let  that  be  the  bodily  plane  :  cannot  all  the  out 
ward  phenomena  of  intelligence  still  be  exhaustively  de 
scribed  ?  Those  mental  images,  those  '  considerations,' 
whereof  we  spoke, — presumably  they  do  not  arise  without 
neural  processes  arising  simultaneously  with  them,  and 
presumably  each  consideration  corresponds  to  a  process  sui 
generis,  and  unlike  all  the  rest.  In  other  words,  however 
numerous  and  delicately  differentiated  the  train  of  ideas 
may  be,  the  train  of  brain-events  that  runs  alongside  of  it 
must  in  both  respects  be  exactly  its  match,  and  we  must 
postulate  a  neural  machinery  that  offers  a  living  counterpart 
for  every  shading,  however  fine,  of  the  history  of  its  owner's 
mind.  Whatever  degree  of  complication  the  latter  may 
reach,  the  complication  of  the  machinery  must  be  quite  as 
extreme,  otherwise  we  should  have  to  admit  that  there 
may  be  mental  events  to  which  no  brain-events  correspond, 

138 


THE  AUTOMATON- THEORY,  129 

But  such  an  admission  as  this  the  physiologist  is  reluctant 
to  make.     It  would  violate  all  his  beliefs.      '  No  psychosis  \ 
without  neurosis,'  is  one  form  which  the  principle  of  con-  [ 
tinuity  takes  in  his  mind. 

But  this  principle  forces  the  physiologist  to  make  still 
another  step.  If  neural  action  is  as  complicated  as  mind  ; 
and  if  in  the  sympathetic  system  and  lower  spinal  cord  we 
see  what,  so  far  as  we  know,  is  unconscious  neural  action 
executing  deeds  that  to  all  outward  intent  may  be  called 
intelligent ;  what  is  there  to  hinder  us  from  supposing  that 
even  where  we  know  consciousness  to  be  there,  the  still 
more  complicated  neural  action  which  we  believe  to  be  its 
inseparable  companion  is  alone  and  of  itself  the  real  agent  /  ^ 
of  whatever  intelligent  deeds  may  appear  ?  "  As  actions  of 
a  certain  degree  of  complexity  are  brought  about  by  mere 
mechanism,  why  may  not  actions  of  a  still  greater  degree  of 
complexity  be  the  result  of  a  more  refined  mechanism  ?" 
The  conception  of  reflex  action  is  surely  one  of  the  best 
conquests  of  physiological  theory  ;  why  not  be  radical  with 
it  ?  Why  not  say  that  just  as  the  spinal  cord  is  a  machine 
with  few  reflexes,  so  the  hemispheres  are  a  machine  with 
many,  and  that  that  is  all  the  difference  ?  The  principle  of 
continuity  would  press  us  to  accept  this  view. 

But  what  on  this  view  could  be  the  function  of  the  con 
sciousness  itself  ?     Mechanical  function  it  would  have  none. 
The  sense-organs   would   awaken   the   brain-cells ;    these 
would  awaken  each  other  in  rational  and  orderly  sequence, 
until  the  time  for  action  came  ;  and  then  the  last  brain«  • 
vibration  would  discharge  downward  into  the  motor  tracts.  ( 
But  this  would   be  a  quite  autonomous  chain  of  occur 
rences,  and  whatever  mind  went  with  it  would  be  there 
only  as  an  '  epiphenomenon,'  an  inert  spectator,  a  sort  of 
*  foam,  aura,  or  melody  '  as  Mr.  Hodgson  says,  whose  oppo 
sition  or  whose  furtherance  would  be  alike  powerless  over 
the  occurrences  themselves.     When  talking,  some  time  ago,  < 
we  ought  not,  accordingly,  as  physiologists,  to  have  said  any 
thing  about  '  considerations '  as  guiding   the  animal.     We  j 
ought  to  have  said  '  paths  left  in  the  hemispherical  cortex  ' 
by  former  currents,'  and  nothing  more. 

Now  so  simple  and  attractive  is  this  conception  from  the 


130  PSYCHOLOGY, 

consistently  physiological  point  of  view,  that  it  is  quite 
wonderful  to  see  how  late  it  was  stumbled  on  in  philosophy, 
and  how  few  people,  even  when  it  has  been  explained  to 
them,  fully  and  easily  realize  its  import.  Much  of  the 
polemic  writing  against  it  is  by  men  who  have  as  }^et  failed 
'  k>  take  it  into  their  imaginations.  Since  this  has  been  the 
case,  it  seems  worth  while  to  devote  a  few  more  words  to 
making  it  plausible,  before  criticising  it  ourselves. 

To  Descartes  belongs  the  credit  of  having  first  been  bold 
enough  to  conceive  of  a  completely  self-sufficing  nervous 
mechanism  which  should  be  able  to  perform  complicated 
and  apparently  intelligent  acts.  By  a  singularly  arbitrary 
\  jj  restriction,  however,  Descartes  stopped  short  at  man,  and 
while  contending  that  in  beasts  the  nervous  machinery  was 
all,  he  held  that  the  higher  acts  of  man  were  the  result 
of  the  agency  of  his  rational  soul.  The  opinion  that 
beasts  have  no  consciousness  at  all  was  of  course  too  para 
doxical  to  maintain  itself  long  as  anything  more  than  a 
curious  item  in  the  history  of  philosophy.  And  with  its 
i,  abandonment  the  very  notion  that  the  nervous  system  per  se 
might  work  the  work  of  intelligence,  which  was  an  integral, 
though  detachable  part  of  the  whole  theory,  seemed  also  to 
slip  out  of  men's  conception,  until,  in  this  century,  the 
elaboration  of  the  doctrine  of  reflex  action  made  it  possible 
and  natural  that  it  should  again  arise.  But  it  was  not  till 
1870,  I  believe,  that  Mr.  Hodgson  made  the  decisive  step, 
by  saying  that  feelings,  no  matter  how  intensely  they  may 
be  present,  can  have  no  causal  efficacy  whatever,  and  com 
paring  them  to  the  colors  laid  on  the  surface  of  a  mosaic,  of 
which  the  events  in  the  nervous  system  are  represented  by 
the  stones.*  Obviously  the  stones  are  held  in  place  by  each 
other  and  not  by  the  several  colors  which  they  support. 

About  the  same  time  Mr.  Spalding,  and  a  little  later 
Messrs.  Huxley  and  Clifford,  gave  great  publicity  to  an 
identical  doctrine,  though  in  their  case  it  was  backed  by 
less  refined  metaphysical  considerations. t 

*  The  Theory  of  Practice,  vol.  i,  p.  416  ff. 

f  The  present  writer  recalls  how  in  1869,  when  still  a  medical  student, 
he  began  to  write  an  essay  showing  how  almost  every  one  who  speculated 
about  brain-processes  illicitly  interpolated  into  his  account  of  them  links 


A  UTOMA  TON-  THEOR  Y.  131 

A  few  sentences  from  Huxley  and  Clifford  may  be  sub 
joined  to  make  the  matter  entirely  clear.  Professor  Huxley 
says: 

' '  The  consciousness  of  brutes  would  appear  to  be  related  to  the 
mechanism  of  their  body  simply  as  a  collateral  product  of  its  working, 
and  to  be  as  completely  without  any  power  of  modifying  that  working 
as  the  steam-whistle  which  accompanies  the  work  of  a  locomotive  engine 
is  without  influence  on  its  machinery.  Their  volition,  if  they  have  any, 
is  an  emotion  indicative  of  physical  changes,  not  a  cause  of  such  changes. 
.  .  .  The  soul  stands  related  to  the  body  as  the  bell  of  a  clock  to  the  works, 
and  consciousness  answers  to  the  sound  which  the  bell  gives  out  when 
it  is  struck.  .  .  .  Thus  far  I  have  strictly  confined  myself  to  the  j 
automatism  of  brutes.  ...  It  is  quite  true  that,  to  the  best  of  my  I 
judgment,  the  argumentation  which  applies  to  brutes  holds  equally 
good  of  men  ;  and,  therefore,  that  all  states  of  consciousness  in  us,  as 
in  them,  are  immediately  caused  by  molecular  changes  of  the  brain-sub-  . 
stance.  It  seems  to  me  that  in  men,  as  in  brutes,  there  is  no  proof  that 
any  state  of  consciousness  is  the  cause  of  change  in  the  motion  of  the 
matter  of  the  organism.  If  these  positions  are  well  based,  it  follows 
that  our  mental  conditions  are  simply  the  symbols  in  consciousness  of 
the  changes  which  take  place  automatically  in  the  organism  ;  and  that, 
to  take  an  extreme  illustration,  the  feeling  we  call  volition  is  not  the 
cause  of  a  voluntary  act,  but  the  symbol  of  that  state  of  the  brain  which 
is  the  immediate  cause  of  that  act.  We  are  conscious  automata." 

Professor  Clifford  writes : 

' '  All  the  evidence  that  we  have  goes  to  show  that  the  physical  world 
gets  along  entirely  by  itself,  according  to  practically  universal  rules. 
.  .  .  The  train  of  physical  facts  between  the  stimulus  sent  into  the  eye, 
or  to  any  one  of  our  senses,  and  the  exertion  which  follows  it,  and  the 
train  of  physical  facts  which  goes  on  in  the  brain,  even  when  there  is 
no  stimulus  and  no  exertion, — these  are  perfectly  complete  physical 
trams,  and  every  step  is  fully  accounted  for  by  mechanical  conditions.  • 
.  .  .  The  two  things  are  on  utterly  different  platforms — the  physical 
facts  go  along  by  themselves,  and  the  mental  facts  go  along  by  them-  /  *'• 
selves.  There  is  a  parallelism  between  them,  but  there  is  no  interfer 
ence  of  one  with  the  other.  Again,  if  anybody  says  that  the  will 
influences  matter,  the  statement  is  not  untrue,  but  it  is  nonsense.  Such 
an  assertion  belongs  to  the  crude  materialism  of  the  savage.  The  only 

derived  from  the  entirely  heterogeneous  universe  of  Feeling.  Spencer, 
Hodgson  (in  his  Time  and  Space),  Maudsley,  Lockhart  Clarke,  Bain,  Dr. 
Carpenter,  and  other  authors  were  cited  as  having  been  guilty  of  the  con 
fusion.  The  writing  was  soon  stopped  because  he  perceived  that  the  view 
which  he  was  upholding  against  these  authors  was  a  pure  conception,  with 
no  proofs  to  be  adduced  of  its  reality.  Later  it  seemed  to  him  that  what 
ever  proofs  existed  really  told  in  favor  of  their  view. 


132  PSYCHOLOGY. 

thing  which  influences  matter  is  the  position  of  surrounding  matter  o? 
the  motion  of  surrounding  matter.  ...  The  assertion  that  another 
man's  volition,  a  feeling  in  his  consciousness  that  I  cannot  perceive,  is 
part  of  the  train  of  physical  facts  which  I  may  perceive,— this  is  neither 
true  nor  untrue,  but  nonsense  ;  it  is  a  combination  of  words  whose  cor 
responding  ideas  will  not  go  together.  .  .  .  Sometimes  one  series  is 
known  better,  and  sometimes  the  other ;  so  that  in  telling  a  story  we 
speak  sometimes  of  mental  and  sometimes  of  material  facts.  A  feeling 
of  chill  made  a  man  run ;  strictly  speaking,  the  nervous  disturbance 
which  coexisted  with  that  feeling  of  chill  made  him  run,  if  we  want  to 
talk  about  material  facts  ;  or  the  feeling  of  chill  produced  the  form  of 
sub-consciousness  which  coexists  with  the  motion  of  legs,  if  we  want 
to  talk  about  mental  facts.  .  .  .  When,  therefore,  we  ask  :  «  What  is  the 
physical  link  between  the  ingoing  message  from  chilled  skin  and  the 
outgoing  message  which  moves  the  leg  ? '  and  the  answer  is,  '  A  man's 
will,'  we  have  as  much  right  to  be  amused  as  if  we  had  asked  our  friend 
with  the  picture  what  pigment  was  used  in  painting  the  cannon  in  the 
foreground,  and  received  the  answer,  '  Wrought  iron.'  It  will  be  found 
excellent  practice  in  the  mental  operations  required  by  this  doctrine  to 
imagine  a  train,  the  fore  part  of  which  is  an  engine  and  three  carriages 
linked  with  iron  couplings,  and  the  hind  part  three  other  carriages 
linked  with  iron  couplings  ;  the  bond  between  the  two  parts  being 
made  up  out  of  the  sentiments  of  amity  subsisting  between  the  stoker 
and  the  guard." 

To  comprehend  completely  the  consequences  of  the 
dogma  so  confidently  enunciated,  one  should  unflinchingly 
apply  it  to  the  most  complicated  examples.  The  move 
ments  of  our  tongues  and  pens,  the  flashings  of  our  eyes  in 
conversation,  are  of  course  events  of  a  material  order,  and  as 
such  their  causal  antecedents  must  be  exclusively  material. 
Jf  we  knew  thoroughly  the  nervous  system  of  Shake 
speare,  and  as  thoroughly  all  his  environing  conditions,  we 
should  be  able  to  show  why  at  a  certain  period  of  his  life 
his  hand  came  to  trace  on  certain  sheets  of  paper  those 
crabbed  little  black  marks  which  we  for  shortness' 
sake  call  the  manuscript  of  Hamlet.  We  should  under 
stand  the  rationale  of  every  erasure  and  alteration  therein, 
and  we  should  understand  all  this  without  in  the  slightest 
/  degree  acknowledging  the  existence  of  the  thoughts  in  Shake 
speare's  mind.  The  words  and  sentences  would  be  taken, 
not  as  signs  of  anything  beyond  themselves,  but  as  little 
outward  facts,  pure  and  simple.  In  like  manner  we  might 
exhaustively  write  the  biography  of  those  two  hundred 


A  UTOMA  TON-  THEOR  T.  1 33 

pounds,  more  or  less,  of  warmish  albuminoid  matter  called 
Martin  Luther,  without  ever  implying  that  it  felt. 

But,  on  the  other  hand,  nothing  in  all  this  could  pre 
vent  us  from  giving  an  equally  complete  account  of  either 
Luther's  or  Shakespeare's  spiritual  history,  an  account  in 
which  every  gleam  of  thought  and  emotion  should  find  its 
place.  The  mind-history  would  run  alongside  of  the  body- 
history  of  each  man,  and  each  point  in  the  one  would  cor 
respond  to,  but  not  react  upon,  a  point  in  the  other.  So 
the  melody  floats  from  the  harp-string,  but  neither  checks 
nor  quickens  its  vibrations  ;  so  the  shadow  runs  alongside 
the  pedestrian,  but  in  no  way  influences  his  steps. 

Another  inference,  apparently  more  paradoxical  still, 
needs  to  be  made,  though,  as  far  as  I  am  aware,  Dr.  Hodg 
son  is  the  only  writer  who  has  explicitly  drawn  it.  That 
inference  is  that  feelings,  not  causing  nerve-actions,  cannot 
even  cause  each  other.  To  ordinary  common  sense,  felt 
pain  is,  as  such,  not  only  the  cause  of  outward  tears  and 
cries,  but  also  the  cause  of  such  inward  events  as  sorrow, 
compunction,  desire,  or  inventive  thought.  So  the  con 
sciousness  of  good  news  is  the  direct  producer  of  the  feel 
ing  of  joy,  the  awareness  of  premises  that  of  the  belief  in 
conclusions.  But  according  to  the  automaton-theory,  each 
of  the  feelings  mentioned  is  only  the  correlate  of  some  nerve-  1 1 . 
movement  whose  cause  lay  wholly  in  a  previous  nerve-move 
ment.  The  first  nerve-movement  called  up  the  second  ; 
whatever  feeling  was  attached  to  the  second  consequently 
found  itself  following  upon  the  feeling  that  was  attached 
to  the  first.  If,  for  example,  good  news  was  the  conscious 
ness  correlated  with  the  first  movement,  then  joy  turned 
out  to  be  the  correlate  in  consciousness  of  the  second. 
But  all  the  while  the  items  of  the  nerve  series  were  the 
only  ones  in  causal  continuity  ;  the  items  of  the  conscious 
series,  however  inwardly  rational  their  sequence,  were 
simply  juxtaposed. 

REASON'S  FOR  THE  THEORY. 

The  '  conscious  automaton-theory,'  as  this  conception  is 
generally  called,  is  thus  a  radical  and  simple  conception  of 
the  manner  in  which  certain  facts  may  possibly  occur.  But 


134  PSYCHOLOGY. 

between  conception  and  belief,  proof  ought  to  lie.  And 
when  we  ask,  '  What  proves  that  all  this  is  more  than  a 
mere  conception  of  the  possible  ? '  it  is  not  easy  to  get  a 
sufficient  reply.  If  we  start  from  the  frog's  spinal  cord 
and  reason  by  continuity,  saying,  as  that  acts  so  intelli 
gently,  though  unconscious,  so  the  higher  centres,  though 
conscious,  may  have  the  intelligence  they  show  quite  as 
mechanically  based ;  we  are  immediately  met  by  the  exact 
counter-argument  from  continuity,  an  Argument  actually 
urged  by  such  writers  as  Pfliiger  and  Lewes,  which  starts 
from  the  acts  of  the  hemispheres,  and  says :  "  As  these  owe 
their  intelligence  to  the  consciousness  which  we  know  to 
be  there,  so  the  intelligence  of  the  spinal  cord's  acts  must 
really  be  due  to  the  invisible  presence  of  a  consciousness 
lower  in  degree."  All  arguments  from  continuity  work  in 
two  ways :  you  can  either  level  up  or  level  down  by  their 
means.  And  it  is  clear  that  such  arguments  as  these  can 
eat  each  other  up  to  all  eternity. 

There  remains  a  sort  of  philosophic  faith,  bred  like 
most  faiths  from  an  aesthetic  demand.  Mental  and  physical 
events  are,  on  all  hands,  admitted  to  present  the  strongest 
contrast  in  the  entire  field  of  being.  The  chasm  which 
yawns  between  them  is  less  easily  bridged  over  by  the 
mind  than  any  interval  we  know.  Why,  then,  not  call  it  an 
absolute  chasm,  and  say  not  only  that  the  two  worlds 
are  different,  but  that  they  are  independent  ?  This  gives 
us  the  comfort  of  all  simple  and  absolute  formulas,  and  it 
makes  each  chain  homogeneous  to  our  consideration. 
Yfhen  talking  of  nervous  tremors  and  bodily  actions,  we 
may  feel  secure  against  intrusion  from  an  irrelevant  mental 
world.  When,  on  the  other  hand,  we  speak  of  feelings,  we 
may  with  equal  consistency  use  terms  always  of  one  de 
nomination,  and  never  be  annoyed  by  what  Aristotle  calls 
'  slipping  into  another  kind.'  The  desire  on  the  part  of  men 
educated  in  laboratories  not  to  have  their  physical  reason 
ings  mixed  up  with  such  incommensurable  factors  as  feelings 
is  certainly  very  strong.  I  have  heard  a  most  intelligent 
biologist  say :  *•  It  is  high  time  for  scientific  men  to  protest 
against  the  recognition  of  any  such  thing  as  consciousness 
in  a  scientific  investigation."  In  a  word,  feeling  constitutes 


A  UTOMA  TON-THEOR  Y.  135 

the  '  unscientific  '  half  of  existence,  and  any  one  who  enjoys 
calling  himself  a  '  scientist '  will  be  too  happy  to  purchase 
an  untrammelled  homogeneity  of  terms  in  the  studies  of  his 
predilection,  at  the  slight  cost  of  admitting  a  dualism ' 
which,  in  the  same  breath  that  it  allows  to  mind  an  inde 
pendent  status  of  being,  banishes  it  to  a  limbo  of  causal 
inertness,  from  whence  no  intrusion  or  interruption  on  its 
part  need  ever  be  feared. 

Over  and  above  this  great  postulate  that  matters  must 
be  kept  simple,  there  is,  it  must  be  confessed,  still  another 
highly  abstract  reason  for  denying  causal  efficacity  to  our 
feelings.  We  can  form  no  positive  image  of  the  modus 
operandi  of  a  volition  or  other  thought  affecting  the  cere 
bral  molecules. 

"  Let  us  try  to  imagine  an  idea,  say  of  food,  producing  a  movement, 
say  of  carrying  food  to  the  mouth.  .  .  .  What  is  the  method  of  its 
action?  Does  it  assist  the  decomposition  of  the  molecules  of  the  gray 
matter,  or  does  it  retard  the  process,  or  does  it  alter  the  direction  in 
which  the  shocks  are  distributed  ?  Let  us  imagine  the  molecules  of  the 
gray  matter  combined  in  such  a  way  that  they  will  fall  into  simpler 
combinations  on  the  impact  of  an  incident  force.  Now  suppose  the  in 
cident  force,  in  the  shape  of  a  shock  from  some  other  centre,  to  impinge 
upon  these  molecules.  By  hypothesis  it  will  decompose  them,  and  they 
will  fall  into  the  simpler  combination.  How  is  the  idea  of  food  to  pre 
vent  this  decomposition  ?  Manifestly  it  can  do  so  only  by  increasing  , 
the  force  which  binds  the  molecules  together.  Good  !  Try  to  imagine 
the  idea  of  a  beefsteak  binding  two  molecules  together.  It  is  impossi 
ble.  Equally  impossible  is  it  to  imagine  a  similar  idea  loosening  the 
attractive  force  between  two  molecules."  * 

This  passage  from  an  exceedingly  clever  writer  expresses  ] 
admirably  the  difficulty  to  which  I  allude.     Combined  with 
a  strong  sense  of  the  '  chasm '  between  the  two  worlds,  and 
with  a  lively  faith  in  reflex  machinery,  the   sense   of  this 
difficulty  can  hardly  fail  to  make  one  turn  consciousness 
out  of  the  door  as  a  superfluity  so  far  as  one's  explanations    i 
go.     One  may  bow  her  out  politely,  allow  her  to  remain  as 
an  '  epiphenomenon'  (invaluable  word  !),  but  one  insists  that 
matter  shall  hold  all  the  power. 

"Having  thoroughly  recognized  the  fathomless  abyss  that  separates 
mind  from  matter,  and  having  so  blended  the  very  notion  into  his  very 

*  Chas.  Mercier  :  The  Nervous  Svstem  aud  the  Mind  (1888),  p.  9. 


136  PSYCHOLOGY. 

nature  that  there  is  no  chance  of  his  ever  forgetting  it  or  failing  to 
saturate  with  it  all  his  meditations,  the  student  of  psychology  has  next 
to  appreciate  the  association  between  these  two  orders  of  phenomena. 
.  .  .  They  are  associated  in  a  manner  so  intimate  that  some  of  the 
greatest  thinkers  consider  them  different  aspects  of  the  same  process. 
.  .  .  When  the  rearrangement  of  molecules  takes  place  in  the  higher 
regions  of  the  brain,  a  change  of  consciousness  simultaneously  occurs. 
.  .  .  The  change  of  consciousness  never  takes  place  without  the  change 
in  the  brain  ;  the  change  in  the  brain  never  .  .  .  without  the  change 
in  consciousness.  But  why  the  two  occur  together,  or  what  the  link  is 
which  connects  them,  we  do  not  know,  and  most  authorities  believe 
that  we  never  shall  and  never  can  know.  Having  firmly  and  tena 
ciously  grasped  these  two  notions,  of  the  absolute  separateness  of  mind 
and  matter,  and  of  the  invariable  concomitance  of  a  mental  change 
with  a  bodily  change,  the  student  will  enter  on  the  study  of  psychology 
with  half  his  difficulties  surmounted."  * 

Half  his  difficulties  ignored,  I  should  prefer  to  say.  For 
this  '  concomitance  '  in  the  midst  of  '  absolute  separateness ' 
is  an  utterly  irrational  notion.  It  is  to  my  mind  quite  in, 
conceivable  that  consciousness  should  have  nothing  to  do 
with  a  business  which  it  so  faithfully  attends.  And  the 
question,  '  What  has  it  to  do  ? '  is  one  which  psychology 
has  no  right  to  '  surmount,'  for  it  is  her  plain  duty  to  con 
sider  it.  The  fact  is  that  the  whole  question  of  interaction 
and  influence  between  things  is  a  metaphysical  question, 
and  cannot  be  discussed  at  all  by  those  who  are  unwilling 
to  go  into  matters  thoroughly.  It  is  truly  enough  hard  to 
imagine  the  'idea  of  a  beefsteak  binding  two  molecules 
together  ; '  but  since  Hume's  time  it  has  been  equally  hard 
Vv-to  imagine  anything  binding  them  together.  The  whole 
notion  of  '  binding '  is  a  mystery,  the  first  step  towards  the 
solution  of  which  is  to  clear  scholastic  rubbish  out  of  the 
way.  Popular  science  talks  of  '  forces,'  '  attractions  '  or 
'  affinities  '  as  binding  the  molecules  ;  but  clear  science, 
though  she  may  use  such  words  to  abbreviate  discourse,  has 
no  use  for  the  conceptions,  and  is  satisfied  when  she  can 
express  in  simple  '  laws '  the  bare  space-relations  of  the 
molecules  as  functions  of  each  other  and  of  time.  To  the 
more  curiously  inquiring  mind,  however,  this  simplified 
expression  of  the  bare  facts  is  not  enough  ;  there  must 

*  On.  <&.  v  ?  t. 


AUTOMATON-THEORY.  137 

be  a  '  reason '  for  them,  and  something  must  '  determine ' 
the  laws.  And  when  one  seriously  sits  down  to  con- 
^ider  what  sort  of  a  thing  one  means  when  one  asks 

i  for  a  '  reason,'  one  is  led  so  far  afield,  so  far  away  from 
popular  science  and  its  scholasticism,  as  to  see  that  even 
such  a  fact  as  the  existence  or  non-existence  in  the  universe 
of  '  the  idea  of  a  beefsteak '  may  not  be  wholly  indifferent 
to  other  facts  in  the  same  universe,  and  in  particular  may 
have  something  to  do  with  determining  the  distance  at 
which  two  molecules  in  that  universe  shall  lie  apart.  If 
ihis  is  so,  then  common-sense,  though  the  intimate  nature 
of  causality  and  of  the  connection  of  things  in  the  universe 

i  lies  beyond  her  pitifully  bounded  horizon,  has  the  root  and 
gist  of  the  truth  in  her  hands  when  she  obstinately  holds 

i  to  it  that  feelings  and  ideas  are  causes.     However  inade 
quate  our  ideas  of  causal  efficacy  may  be,  we  are  less  wide , 
of  the  mark  when  we  say  that  our  ideas  and  feelings  have 
it,  than  the  Automatists  are  when  they  say  they  haven't  it. ; 
As  in  the  night  all  cats  are  gray,  so  in  the  darkness  of  meta 
physical  criticism  all  causes  are  obscure.     But  one  has  no 
right  to  pull  the  pall  over  the  psychic  half  of  the  subject 
only,  as  the  automatists  do,  and  to  say  that  that  causation 
is  unintelligible,  whilst  in  the  same  breath  one  dogmatizes 

:  about  material  causation  as  if  Hume,  Kant,  and  Lotze  had 
never  been  born.  One  cannot  thus  blow  hot  and  cold.  One 
must  be  impartially  naif  or  impartially  critical.  If  the 
latter,  the  reconstruction  must  be  thorough-going  or  '  meta 
physical,'  and  will  probably  preserve  the  common-sense 
view  that  ideas  are  forces,  in  some  translated  form.  But 
Psychology  is  a  mere  natural  science,  accepting  certain 
terms  uncritically  as  her  data,  and  stopping  short  of 
metaphysical  reconstruction.  Like  physics,  she  must  be 
naive ;  and  if  she  finds  that  in  her  very  peculiar  field  of 
study  ideas  seem  to  be  causes,  she  had  better  continue  to 
talk  of  them  as  such.  She  gains  absolutely  nothing  by  a 
breach  with  common-sense  in  this  matter,  and  she  loses, 
to  say  the  least,  all  naturalness  of  speech.  If  feelings  are 
causes,  of  course  their  effects  must  be  furtherances  and 
checkings  of  internal  cerebral  motions,  of  which  in  them 
selves  we  are  entirely  without  knowledge.  It  is  probable 


138  PSYCHOLOGY. 

that  for  years  to  come  we  shall  have  to  infer  what  happens 
/  in  the  brain  either  from  our  feelings  or  from  motor  effects 
which  we  observe.     The  organ  will  be  for  us  a  sort  of  vat 
'   in  which  feelings  and   motions  somehow  go  on   stewing 
together,  and  in  which  innumerable  things  happen  of  which 
we  catch  but  the  statistical  result.     Why,  under  these  cir- 
\  cumstances,  we  should  be  asked  to  forswear  the  language 
of  our  childhood  I  cannot  well  imagine,  especially  as  it  is 
perfectly  compatible  with  the  language  of  physiology.    The 
feelings  can  produce  nothing  absolutely  new,  they  can  only 
reinforce  and  inhibit  reflex  currents  which  already  exist, 
and  the  original  organization  of   these   by  physiological 
forces  must  always  be  the  ground-work  of   the  psycho 
logical  scheme. 

My  conclusion  is  that  to  urge  the  automaton-theory 
upon  us,  as  it  is  now  urged,  on  purely  a  priori  and  quasi. 
metaphysical  grounds,  is  an  unwarrantable  impertinence  in 
the  present  state  of  psychology. 

REASONS   AGAINST   THE   THEORY. 

But  there  are  much  more  positive  reasons  than  this  why 
we  ought  to  continue  to  talk  in  psychology  as  if  conscious 
ness  had  causal  efficacy.  The  particulars  of  the  distribu 
tion  of  consciousness,  so  far  as  we  know  them,  point  to  its 
being  efficacious.  Let  us  trace  some  of  them. 

It  is  very  generally  admitted,  though  the  point  would 
,  be  hard  to  prove,  that  consciousness  grows  the  more  com 
plex  and  intense  the  higher  we  rise  in  the  animal  kingdom. 
That  of  a  man  must  exceed  that  of  an  oyster.  From  this 
point  of  view  it  seems  an  organ,  superadded  to  the  other 
organs  which  maintain  the  animal  in  the  struggle  for  exist 
ence  ;  and  the  presumption  of  course  is  that  it  helps  him 
in  some  way  in  the  struggle,  just  as  they  do.  But  it 
cannot  help  him  without  being  in  some  way  efficacious  and 
influencing  the  course  of  his  bodily  history.  If  now  it 
could  be  shown  in  what  way  consciousness  might  help  him, 
and  if,  moreover,  the  defects  of  his  other  organs  (where 
consciousness  is  most  developed)  are  such  as  to  make  them 
need  just  the  kind  of  help  that  consciousness  would  bring 
provided  it  <were  efficacious  ;  why,  then  the  plausible  infer- 


A  UTOMA  TON-  THEOR  7.  139 

ence  would  be  that  it  came  just  because  of  its  efficacy — in 
other  words,  its  efficacy  would  be  inductively  proved. 

Now  the  study  of  the  phenomena  of  consciousness  which 
we  shall  make  throughout  the  rest  of  this  book  will  show 
us  that  consciousness  is  at  all  times  primarily  a  selecting  | 
agency  *  Whether  we  take  it  in  the  lowest  sphere  of  sense, 
or  in  the  highest  of  intellection,  we  find  it  always  doing 
one  thing,  choosing  one  out  of  several  of  the  materials  so 
presented  to  its  notice,  emphasizing  and  accentuating  that 
and  suppressing  as  far  as  possible  all  the  rest.  The  item 
emphasized  is  always  in  close  connection  with  some  interest 
felt  by  consciousness  to  be  paramount  at  the  time. 

But  what  are  now  the  defects  of  the  nervous  system  in 
those  animals  whose  consciousness  seems  most  highly 
developed?  Chief  among  them  must  be  instability.  The 
cerebral  hemispheres  are  the  characteristically  'high' 
nerve-centres,  and  we  saw  how  indeterminate  and  unfore 
seeable  their  performances  were  in  comparison  with  those 
of  the  basal  ganglia  and  the  cord.  But  this  very  vague 
ness  constitutes  their  advantage.  They  allow  their  pos 
sessor  to  adapt  his  conduct  to  the  minutest  alterations  in 
the  environing  circumstances,  any  one  of  which  may  be 
for  him  a  sign,  suggesting  distant  motives  more  powerful 
than  any  present  solicitations  of  sense.  It  seems  as  if  cer 
tain  mechanical  conclusions  should  be  drawn  from  this 
state  of  things.  An  organ  swayed  by  slight  impressions  is 
an  organ  whose  natural  state  is  one  of  unstable  equilibrium. 
We  may  imagine  the  various  lines  of  discharge  in  the  cere 
brum  to  be  almost  on  a  par  in  point  of  permeability — what 
discharge  a  given  small  impression  will  produce  may  be 
called  accidental,  in  the  sense  in  which  we  say  it  is  a  mat 
ter  of  accident  whether  a  rain-drop  falling  on  a  moun 
tain  ridge  descend  the  eastern  or  the  western  slope.  It 
is  in  this  sense  that  we  may  call  it  a  matter  of  accident 
whether  a  child  be  a  boy  or  a  girl.  The  ovum  is  so  un 
stable  a  body  that  certain  causes  too  minute  for  our  appre-^ 
hension  may  at  a  certain  moment  tip  it  one  way  or  the 
other.  The  natural  law  of  an  organ  constituted  after  this 

*  See  in  particular  the  end  of  Chapter  IX. 


140  PSYCHOLOGY. 

fashion  can  be  nothing  but  a  law  of  caprice.  I  do  not  see 
how  one  could  reasonably  expect  from  it  any  certain  pursu 
ance  of  useful  lines  of  reaction,  such  as  the  few  and  fatally 
determined  performances  of  the  lower  centres  constitute 
within  their  narrow  sphere.  The  dilemma  in  regard  to  the 
nervous  system  seems,  in  short,  to  be  of  the  following  kind. 
We  may  construct  one  which  will  react  infallibly  and  cer 
tainly,  but  it  will  then  be  capable  of  reacting  to  very  few 
changes  in  the  environment — it  will  fail  to  be  adapted  to  all 
the  rest.  We  may,  on  the  other  hand,  construct  a  nervous 
system  potentially  adapted  to  respond  to  an  infinite  variety 
of  minute  features  in  the  situation ;  but  its  fallibility  will 
then  be  as  great  as  its  elaboration.  We  can  never  be  sure 
that  its  equilibrium  will  be  upset  in  the  appropriate  direc 
tion.  In  short,  a  high  brain  may  do  many  things,  and  may 
do  each  of  them  at  a  very  slight  hint.  But  its  hair-trigger 
organization  makes  of  it  a  happy-go-lucky,  hit-or-miss 
affair.  It  is  as  likely  to  do  the  crazy  as  the  sane  thing  at 
,  any  given  moment.  A  low  brain  does  few  things,  and  in 
doing  them  perfectly  forfeits  all  other  use.  The  perform 
ances  of  a  high  brain  are  like  dice  thrown  forever  on  a 
table.  Unless  they  be  loaded,  what  chance  is  there  that 
the  highest  number  will  turn  up  oftener  than  the  lowest  ? 

All  this  is  said  of  the  brain  as  a  physical  machino  pure 
and  simple.  Can  consciousness  increase  its  efficiency  by 
loading  its  dice  ?  Such  is  the  problem. 

Loading  its  dice  would  mean  bringing  a  more  or  less 
constant  pressure  to  bear  in  favor  of  those  of  its  perform 
ances  which  make  for  the  most  permanent  interests  cf  the 
brain's  owner ;  it  would  mean  a  constant  inhibition  of  the 
tendencies  to  stray  aside. 

Well,  just  such  pressure  and  such  inhibition  are  what 
consciousness  seems  to  be  exerting  all  the  while.  And  the 
interests  in  whose  favor  it  seems  to  exert  them  are  its  inter 
ests  and  its  alone,  interests  which  it  creates,  and  which, 
but  for  it,  would  have  no  status  in  the  realm  of  being  what 
ever.  We  talk,  it  is  true,  when  we  are  darwinizing,  as  if 
the  mere  body  that  owns  the  brain  had  interests ;  we  speak 
about  the  utilities  of  its  various  organs  and  how  they  help 
or  hinder  the  body's  survival ;  and  we  treat  the  survival  aa 


AUTOMATON-THEORY.  141 

if  it  were  an  absolute  end,  existing  as  such  in  the  physical 
world,  a  sort  of  actual  should-be,  presiding  over  the  animal 
and  judging  his  reactions,  quite  apart  from  the  presence  of 
any  commenting  intelligence  outside.  We  forget  that  in 
the  absence  of  some  such  superadded  commenting  intelli 
gence  (whether  it  be  that  of  the  animal  itself,  or  only  ours 
or  Mr.  Darwin's),  the  reactions  cannot  be  properly  talked 
of  as  '  useful '  or  '  hurtful '  at  all.  Considered  merely 
physically,  all  that  can  be  said  of  them  is  that  if  they  occur 
in  a  certain  way  survival  will  as  a  matter  of  fact  prove  to  be 
their  incidental  consequence.  The  organs  themselves,  and 
all  the  rest  of  the  physical  world,  will,  however,  all  the  time 
be  quite  indifferent  to  this  consequence,  and  would  quite  as 
cheerfully,  the  circumstances  changed,  compass  the  animal's 
destruction.  In  a  word,  survival  can  enter  into  a  purely 
physiological  discussion  only  as  an  hypothesis  made  by  an 
onlooker,  about  the  future.  But  the  moment  you  bring  a 
qonsciousness  into  the  midst,  survival  ceases  to  be  a  mere 
hypothesis.  No  longer  is  it,  "  if  survival  is  to  occur,  then 
so  and  so  must  brain  and  other  organs  work."  It  has  now 
become  an  imperative  decree  :  "  Survival  shall  occur,  and 
therefore  organs  must  so  work  !"  Real  ends  appear  for  the 
first  time  now  upon  the  world's  stage.  The  conception  of 
consciousness  as  a  purely  cognitive  form  of  being,  which 
is  the  pet  way  of  regarding  it  in  many  idealistic  schools, 
modern  as  well  as  ancient,  is  thoroughly  anti-psychologi 
cal,  as  the  remainder  of  this  book  will  show.  Every  actu 
ally  existing  consciousness  seems  to  itself  at  any  rate  to 
be  a  fighter  for  ends,  of  which  many,  but  for  its  presence, 
vvould  not  be  ends  at  all.  Its  powers  of  cognition  are 
mainly  subservient  to  these  ends,  discerning  which  facts 
further  them  and  which  do  not. 

Now  let  consciousness  only  be  what  it  seems  to  itself, 
and  it  will  help  an  instable  brain  to  compass  its  proper 
ends.  The  movements  of  the  brain  per  se  yield  the  means 
of  attaining  these  ends  mechanically,  but  only  out  of  a  lot  of 
other  ends,  if  so  they  may  be  called,  which  are  not  the 
proper  ones  of  the  animal,  but  often  quite  opposed.  The 
brain  is  an  instrument  of  possibilities,  but  of  no  certainties. 
But  the  consciousness,  with  its  own  ends  present  to  it,  and 


142  PSYCHOLOGY. 

knowing  also  well  which  possibilities  lead  thereto  and 
which  away,  will,  if  endowed  with  causal  efficacy,  reinforce 
the  favorable  possibilities  and  repress  the  unfavorable  or 
indifferent  ones.  The  nerve-currents,  coursing  through  the 
cells  and  fibres,  must  in  this  case  be  supposed  strengthened 
by  the  fact  of  their  awaking  one  consciousness  and  damp 
ened  by  awaking  another.  Hoiu  such  reaction  of  the  con 
sciousness  upon  the  currents  may  occur  must  remain  at 
present  unsolved :  it  is  enough  for  my  purpose  to  have 
shown  that  it  may  not  uselessly  exist,  and  that  the  matter 
is  less  simple  than  the  brain-automatists  hold. 

All  the  facts  of  the  natural  history  of  consciousness  lend 
color  to  this  view.  Consciousness,  for  example,  is  only 
intense  when  nerve-processes  are  hesitant.  In  rapid, 
automatic,  habitual  action  it  sinks  to  a  minimum.  Nothing 
could  be  more  fitting  than  this,  if  consciousness  have  the 
teleological  function  we  suppose ;  nothing  more  meaning 
less,  if  not.  Habitual  actions  are  certain,  and  being  in  no 
danger  of  going  astray  from  their  end,  need  no  extraneous 
help.  In  hesitant  action,  there  seem  many  alternative  pos 
sibilities  of  final  nervous  discharge.  The  feeling  awakened 
by  the  nascent  excitement  of  each  alternative  nerve-tract 
seems  by  its  attractive  or  repulsive  quality  to  determine 
whether  the  excitement  shall  abort  or  shall  become  com 
plete.  Where  indecision  is  great,  as  before  a  dangerous 
leap,  consciousness  is  agonizingly  intense.  Feeling,  from 
this  point  of  view,  may  be  likened  to  a  cross-section  of  the 
chain  of  nervous  discharge,  ascertaining  the  links  already 
laid  down,  and  groping  among  the  fresh  ends  presented 
to  it  for  the  one  which  seems  best  to  fit  the  case. 

The  phenomena  of  '  vicarious  function '  which  we  studied 

in  Chapter  II  seem  to  form  another  bit  of  circumstantial 

evidence.     A   machine    in   working    order  acts  fatally  in 

one   way.     Our    consciousness   calls   this   the   right   way. 

Take  out  a  valve,  throw  a  wheel  out  of  gear  or  bend  a 

pivot,  and  it  becomes  a  different  machine,  acting  just  as 

fatally  in  another  way  which  we  call  the  wrong  way.     But 

.    the  machine  itself  knows  nothing  of  wrong  or  right :  matter 

i   has  no  ideals  to  pursue.     A  locomotive  will  carry  its  train 


A  UTOMA  TON-  THEOR  Y.  143 

through  an  open  drawbridge  as  cheerfully  as  to  any  other 
destination. 

A  brain  with  part  of  it  scooped  out  is  virtually  a  new 
machine,  and  during  the  first  days  after  the  operation 
functions  in  a  thoroughly  abnormal  manner.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  however,  its  performances  become  from  day  to  day 
more  normal,  until  at  last  a  practised  eye  may  be  needed 
to  suspect  anything  wrong.  Borne  of  the  restoration  is  un 
doubtedly  due  to  '  inhibitions  '  passing  away.  But  if  the 
consciousness  which  goes  with  the  rest  of  the  brain,  be  there 
not  only  in  order  to  take  cognizance  of  each  functional 
error,  but  also  to  exert  an  efficient  pressure  to  check  it  if  it 
be  a  sin  of  commission,  and  to  lend  a  strengthening  hand 
if  it  be  a  weakness  or  sin  of  omission, — nothing  seems 
more  natural  than  that  the  remaining  parts,  assisted  in 
this  way,  should  by  virtue  of  the  principle  of  habit  grow 
back  to  the  old  teleological  modes  of  exercise  for  which 
they  were  at  first  incapacitated.  Nothing,  on  the  contrary, 
seems  at  first  sight  more  unnatural  than  that  they  should 
vicariously  take  up  the  duties  of  a  part  now  lost  without 
those  duties  as  such  exerting  any  persuasive  or  coercive 
force.  At  the  end  of  Chapter  XXVI I  shall  return  to  this 
again. 

There  is  yet  another  set  of  facts  which  seem  explicable 
on  the  supposition  that  consciousness  has  causal  efficacy. 
It  is  a  ivell-knoivn  fact  that  pleasures  are  generally  asso 
ciated  with  beneficial,  pains  with  detrimental,  experiences. 
All  the  fundamental  vital  processes  illustrate  this  law. 
Starvation,  suffocation,  privation  of  food,  drink  and  sleep, 
work  when  exhausted,  burns,  wounds,  inflammation,  the 
effects  of  poison,  are  as  disagreeable  as  filling  the  hungry 
stomach,  enjoying  rest  and  sleep  after  fatigue,  exercise  after 
rest,  and  a  sound  skin  and  unbroken  bones  at  all  times,  are 
pleasant.  Mr.  Spencer  and  others  have  suggested  that 
these  coincidences  are  due,  not  to  any  pre-established 
harmony,  but  to  the  mere  action  of  natural  selection  which 
would  certainly  kill  off  in  the  long-run  any  breed  of  crea 
tures  to  whom  the  fundamentally  noxious  experience  seemed 
enjoyable.  An  animal  that  should  take  pleasure  in  a  feel- 


144  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ing  of  suffocation  would,  if  that  pleasure  were  efficacious 
enough  to  make  him  immerse  his  head  in  water,  enjoy  a 
longevity  of  four  or  five  minutes.  But  if  pleasures  and 
pains  have  no  efficacy,  one  does  not  see  (without  some 
such  d  priori  rational  harmony  as  would  be  scouted  by  the 
'  scientific '  champions  of  the  automaton-theory)  why  the 
most  noxious  acts,  such  as  burning,  might  not  give  thrills 
of  delight,  and  the  most  necessary  ones,  such  as  breathing, 
cause  agony.  The  exceptions  to  the  law  are,  it  is  true, 
numerous,  but  relate  to  experiences  that  are  either  not  vital 
or  not  universal.  Drunkenness,  for  instance,  which  though 
noxious,  is  to  many  persons  delightful,  is  a  very  exceptional 
experience.  But,  as  the  excellent  physiologist  Fick  re 
marks,  if  all  rivers  and  springs  ran  alcohol  instead  of  water, 
either  all  men  would  now  be  born  to  hate  it  or  our  nerves 
would  have  been  selected  so  as  to  drink  it  with  impunity. 
The  only  considerable  attempt,  in  fact,  that  has  been  made 
to  explain  the  distribution  of  our  feelings  is  that  of  Mr.  Grant 
Allen  in  his  suggestive  little  work  Physiological  ^Esthetics  ; 
and  his  reasoning  is  based  exclusively  on  that  causal  efficacy 
of  pleasures  and  pains  which  the  '  double-aspect '  partisans 
so  strenuously  deny. 

Thus,  then,  from  every  point  of  view  the  circumstantial 
evidence  against  that  theory  is  strong.  A  priori  analysis 
of  both  brain-action  and  conscious  action  shows  us  that  if 
the  latter  were  efficacious  it  would,  by  its  selective  emphasis, 
make  amends  for  the  indeterminateness  of  the  former;  whilst 
tile  study  a  posteriori  of  the  distribution  of  consciousness 
shows  it  to  be  exactly  such  as  we  might  expect  in  an  organ 
added  for  the  sake  of  steering  a  nervous  system  grown  too 
complex  to  regulate  itself.  The  conclusion  that  it  is  use 
ful  is,  after  all  this,  quite  justifiable.  But,  if  it  is  useful, 
it  must  be  so  through  its  causal  efficaciousness,  and  the 
automaton-theory  must  succumb  to  the  theory  of  common- 
sense.  I,  at  any  rate  (pending  metaphysical  reconstruc 
tions  not  yet  successfully  achieved),  shall  have  no  hesita 
tion  in  using  the  language  of  common-sense  throughout  this 
book. 


CHAPTER   VI. 
THE   MIND  STUFF  THEORY. 

THE  reader  who  found  himself  swamped  with  too  much 
metaphysics  in  the  last  chapter  will  have  a  still  worse 
time  of  it  in  this  one,  which  is  exclusively  metaphysical. 
Metaphysics  means  nothing  but  an  unusually  obstinate  \\ 
effort  to  think  clearly.  The  fundamental  conceptions  of 
psychology  are  practically  very  clear  to  us,  but  theoreti 
cally  they  are  very  confused,  and  one  easily  makes  the  ob 
scurest  assumptions  in  this  science  without  realizing,  until 
challenged,  what  internal  difficulties  they  involve.  When 
these  assumptions  have  once  established  themselves  (as 
they  have  a  way  of  doing  in  our  very  descriptions  of  the 
phenomenal  facts)  it  is  almost  impossible  to  get  rid  of  them 
afterwards  or  to  make  any  one  see  that  they  are  not  essen 
tial  features  of  the  subject.  The  only  way  to  prevent  this 
disaster  is  to  scrutinize  them  beforehand  and  make  them 
give  an  articulate  account  of  themselves  before  letting  them 
pass.  On«  of  the  obscurest  of  the  assumptions  of  which 
I  speak  is  the  assumption  that  our  mental  states  are  com 
posite  in  structure,  made  up  of  smaller  states  conjoined. 
This  hypothesis  has  outward  advantages  which  make  it 
almost  irresistibly  attractive  to  the  intellect,  and  yet  it  is 
inwardly  quite  unintelligible.  Of  its  unintelligibility,  how 
ever,  half  the  writers  on  psychology  seem  unaware.  As 
our  own  aim  is  to  understand  if  possible,  I  make  no  apology 
for  singling  out  this  particular  notion  for  very  explicit 
treatment  before  taking  up  the  descriptive  part  of  our  work. 
The  theory  of  '  mind- stuff'  is  the  theory  that  our  mental 
states  are  compounds,  expressed  in  its  most  radical  form. 

145 


146  PSYCHOLOGY. 

EVOLUTIONARY  PSYCHOLOGY  DEMANDS  A  MIND-DUST. 

In  a  general  theory  of  evolution  the  inorganic  comes 
first,  then  the  lowest  forms  of  animal  and  vegetable  life, 
then  forms  of  life  that  possess  mentality,  and  finally  those 
like  ourselves  that  possess  it  in  a  high  degree.  As  long  as 
we  keep  to  the  consideration  of  purely  outward  facts,  even 
the  most  complicated  facts  of  biology,  our  task  as  evolution. 
ists  is  comparatively  easy.  We  are  dealing  all  the  time  with 
matter  and  its  aggregations  and  separations ;  and  although 
our  treatment  must  perforce  be  hypothetical,  this  does  not 
prevent  it  from  being  continuous.  The  point  which  as  evo 
lutionists  we  are  bound  to  hold  fast  to  is  that  all  the  new 
forms  of  being  that  make  their  appearance  are  really  noth 
ing  more  than  results  of  the  redistribution  of  the  original 
and  unchanging  materials.  The  self-same  atoms  which, 
chaotically  dispersed,  made  the  nebula,  now,  jammed  and 
temporarily  caught  in  peculiar  positions,  form  our  brains  ; 
and  the  '  evolution '  of  the  brains,  if  understood,  would  be 
simply  the  account  of  how  the  atoms  came  to  be  so  caught 
and  jammed.  In  this  story  no  new  natures,  no  factors  not 
present  at  the  beginning,  are  introduced  at  any  later  stage. 

But  with  the  dawn  of  consciousness  an  entirely  new 
nature  seems  to  slip  in,  something  whereof  the  potency  was 
not  given  in  the  mere  outward  atoms  of  the  original  chaos. 

The  enemies  of  evolution  have  been  quick  to  pounce 
upon  this  undeniable  discontinuity  in  the  data  of  the  world, 
and  many  of  them,  from  the  failure  of  evolutionary  expla 
nations  at  this  point,  have  inferred  their  general  incapacity 
all  along  the  line.  Every  one  admits  the  entire  incommen 
surability  of  feeling  as  such  with  material  motion  as 
such.  "  A  motion  became  a  feeling !  " — no  phrase  that  our 
lips  can  frame  is  so  devoid  of  apprehensible  meaning. 
Accordingly,  even  the  vaguest  of  evolutionary  enthusiasts, 
when  deliberately  comparing  material  with  mental  facts, 
have  been  as  forward  as  any  one  else  to  emphasize  the 
•"  chasm '  between  the  inner  and  the  outer  worlds. 

"  Can  the  oscillations  of  a  molecule,"  says  Mr.  Spencer,  "be  repre 
sented  side  by  side  with  a  nervous  shock  [he  means  a  mental  shock], 
and  the  two  b«  recognized  as  one  ?  No  effort  enables  us  to  assimilate 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  147 

them.  That  a  unit  of  feeling  has  nothing  in  common  with  a  unit  of 
motion  becomes  more  than  ever  manifest  when  we  bring  the  two  into 
juxtaposition. "  * 

And  again : 

"Suppose  it  to  have  become  quite  clear  that  a  shock  in  conscious 
ness  and  a  molecular  motion  are  the  subjective  and  objective  faces  of 
the  same  thing;  we  continue  utterly  incapable  of  uniting  the  two,  so  as 
to  conceive  that  reality  of  which  they  are  the  opposite  faces."t 

In  other  words,  incapable  of  perceiving  in  them  any  com 
mon  character.  So  Tyndall,  in  that  lucky  paragraph 
which  has  been  quoted  so  often  that  every  one  knows  it  by 
heart : 

"The  passage  from  the  physics  of  the  brain  to  the  corresponding 
facts  of  consciousness  is  unthinkable.  Granted  that  a  definite  thought 
and  a  definite  molecular  action  in  the  brain  occur  simultaneously  ;  we 
do  not  possess  the  intellectual  organ,  nor  apparently  any  rudiment  of 
the  organ,  which  would  enable  us  to  pass,  by  a  process  of  reasoning, 
from  one  to  the  other."  I 
Or  in  this  other  passage : 

"  We  can  trace  the  development  of  a  nervous  system  and  correlate 
with  it  the  parallel  phenomena  of  sensation  and  thought.  We  see  with 
undoubting  certainty  that  they  go  hand  in  hand.  But  we  try  to  soar 
in  a  vacuum  the  moment  we  seek  to  comprehend  the  connection 
between  them.  .  .  .  There  is  no  fusion  possible  between  the  two  classes 
of  facts— no  motor  energy  in  the  intellect  of  man  to  carry  it  without 
logical  rupture  from  the  one  to  the  other."  § 

None  the  less  easily,  however,  when  the  evolutionary 
afflatus  is  upon  them,  do  the  very  same  writers  leap  over 
the  breach  whose  flagrancy  they  are  the  foremost  to  an 
nounce,  and  talk  as  if  mind  grew  out  of  body  in  a  con 
tinuous  way.  Mr.  Spencer,  looking  back  on  his  review  of 
mental  evolution,  tells  us  how  "  in  tracing  up  the  increase 

*  Psychol.  §  62.  f  Ibid.  §  272. 

$  Fragments  of  Science,  5th  ed.,  p.  420. 

§  Belfast  Address,  'Nature,'  August  20,  1874,  p.  318.  I  cannot  help 
remarking  that  the  disparity  between  motious  and  feelings  011  which  these 
authors  lay  so  much  stress,  is  somewhat  less  absolute  than  at  first  sight 
it  seems.  There  are  categories  common  to  the  two  worlds.  Not  only  tem 
poral  succession  (as  Helmholtz  admits,  Physiol.  Optik,  p.  445),  but  such 
attributes  as  intensity,  volume,  simplicity  or  complication,  smooth  or  im 
peded  change,  rest  or  agitation,  are  habitually  predicated  of  both  physical 
facts  and  mental  facts.  Where  surb  analogies  obtain,  the  things  do  have 
something-  in  cominoa. 


148  PSYCHOLOGY. 

we  found  ourselves  passing  without  break  from  the  phenomena 
of  bodily  life  to  the  phenomena  of  mental  life."  '  And  Mr. 
Tyndall,  in  the  same  Belfast  Address  from  which  we  just 
quoted,  delivers  his  other  famous  passage  : 

"  Abandoning  all  disguise,  the  confession  that  I  feel  bound  to  make 
before  you  is  that  I  prolong  the  vision  backward  across  the  boundary  of 
the  experimental  evidence,  and  discern  in  that  matter  which  we,  in  our 
ignorance  and  notwithstanding  our  professed  reverence  for  its  Creator, 
have  hitherto  covered  with  opprobrium  the  promise  and  potency  of 
every  form  and  quality  of  life."  t 
—mental  life  included,  as  a  matter  of  course. 

So  strong  a  postulate  is  continuity !  Now  this  book  will 
tend  to  show  that  mental  postulates  are  on  the  whole  to  be 
respected.  The  demand  for  continuity  has,  over  large  tracts 
of  science,  proved  itself  to  possess  true  prophetic  power. 
We  ought  therefore  ourselves  sincerely  to  try  every  possible 
mode  of  conceiving  the  dawn  of  consciousness  so  that  it 
may  not  appear  equivalent  to  the  irruption  into  the  universe 
of  a  new  nature,  non-existent  until  then. 

Merely  to  call  the  consciousness  *  nascent '  will  not 
serve  our  turn.:f  It  is  true  that  the  word  signifies  not  yet 

*  Psychology,  §  131.  t '  Nature,'  as  above,  317-8. 

\  '  Nascent '  is  Mr.  Spencer's  great  word.  lu  showing  how  at  a  certain 
point  consciousness  must  appear  upon  the  evolving  scene  this  author  fairly 
outdoes  himself  in  vagueness. 

"  In  its  higher  forms,  Instinct  is  probably  accompanied  by  a  rudimen 
tary  consciousness.  There  cannot  be  co-ordination  of  many  stimuli  without 
some  ganglion  through  which  they  are  all  brought  into  relation.  In  the 
process  of  bringing  them  into  relation,  this  ganglion  must  be  subject  to 
the  influence  of  each— must  undergo  many  changes.  And  the  quick  suc 
cession  of  changes  in  a  ganglion,  implying  as  it  does  perpetual  experiences 
of  differences  and  likenesses,  constitutes  the  raw  material  of  consciousness. 
The  implication  is  that  as  fast  as  Instinct  is  developed,  some  kind  of  con 
sciousness  becomes  nascent."  (Psychology,  §  195.) 

The  words  '  raw  material '  and  '  implication '  which  I  have  italicized 
aie  the  words  which  do  the  evolving.  They  are  supposed  to  have  ail  the 
rigor  which  the  '  synthetic  philosophy  '  requires.  In  the  following  passage, 
when  '  impressions  '  pass  through  a  common  '  centre  of  communication' 
in  succession  (much  as  people  might  pass  into  a  theatre  through  a  turnstile) 
consciousness,  non-existent  until  then,  is  supposed  to  result : 

"Separate  impressions  are  received  by  the  senses — by  different  parts  of  the 
body.  If  they  go  no  further  than  the  places  at  which  they  are  received,  they 
are  useless.  Or  if  only  some  of  them  are  brought  into  relation  with  one  an 
other,  they  are  useless.  That  an  effectual  adjustment  may  be  made,  they  must 
be  all  brought  into  relation  with  one  another.  But  this  implies  some  centre 
of  communication  common  to  them  all,  through  which  they  severally  pass,- 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  149 

quite  born,  and  so  seems  to  form  a  sort  of  bridge  between 
existence  and  nonentity.  But  that  is  a  verbal  quibble. 
The  fact  is  that  discontinuity  comes  in  if  a  new  nature 
comes  in  at  all.  The  quantity  of  the  latter  is  quite  imma 
terial.  The  girl  in  '  Midshipman  Easy  '  could  not  excuse  the 
illegitimacy  of  her  child  by  saying,  *it  was  a  little  small 
one.'  And  Consciousness,  however  little,  is  an  illegiti 
mate  birth  in  any  philosophy  that  starts  without  it,  and  yet 
professes  to  explain  all  facts  by  continuous  evolution. 

If  evolution  is  to  work  smoothly,  consciousness  in  some  shape 
must  have  been  present  at  the  very  origin  of  things.  Accord 
ingly  we  find  that  the  more  clear-sighted  evolutionary  phi 
losophers  are  beginning  to  posit  it  there.  Each  atom  of  the 
nebula,  they  suppose,  must  have  had  an  aboriginal  atom 
of  consciousness  linked  with  it ;  and,  just  as  the  material 
atoms  have  formed  bodies  and  brains  by  massing  them 
selves  together,  so  the  mental  atoms,  by  an  analogous 
process  of  aggregation,  have  fused  into  those  larger  con 
sciousnesses  which  we  know  in  ourselves  and  suppose  to 
exist  in  our  fellow-animals.  Some  such  doctrine  of 
atomistic  hylozoism  as  this  is  an  indispensable  part  of  a 
thorough-going  philosophy  of  evolution.  According  to  it 
there  must  be  an  infinite  number  of  degrees  of  conscious- 

and  as  they  cannot  pass  through  it  simultaneously,  they  must  pass  through 
it  in  succession.  So  that  as  the  external  phenomena  responded  to  become 
greater  in  number  and  more  complicated  in  kind,  the  variety  and  rapidity 
of  the  changes  to  which  this  common  centre  of  communication  is  subject 
must  increase — there  must  result  an  unbroken  series  of  these  changes — 
there  must  arise  a  consciousness. 

"Hence  the  progress  of  the  correspondence  between  the  organism  and  its 
environment  necessitates  a  gradual  reduction  of  the  sensorial  changes  to  a 
succession  ;  and  by  so  doing  evolves  a  distinct  consciousness— &  consciousness 
that  becomes  higher  as  the  succession  becomes  more  rapid  and  the  corre 
spondence  more  complete."  (Ibid.  §  179.) 

It  is  true  that  in  the  Fortnightly  Review  (vol.  xiv.  p.  716)  Mr.  Spencer 
denies  thnt  he  means  by  this  passage  to  tell  us  anything  about  the  origin  of 
consciousness  at  all.  It  resembles,  however,  too  many  other  places  in  his 
Psychology  (e.g.  §§  43,  110,  244)  not  to  be  taken  as  a  serious  attempt  to  ex 
plain  how  consciousness  must  at  a  certain  point  be  'evolved.'  That, 
when  a  critic  calls  his  attention  to  the  inanity  of  his  words,  Mr.  Spencer 
should  say  he  never  meant  anything  particular  by  them,  is  simply  an 
example  of  the  scandalous  vagueness  with  which  this  sort  of  '  chromo- 
philosophy  '  is  carried  on. 


150  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ness,  following  the  degrees  of  complication  and  aggrega 
tion  of  tlie  primordial  mind-dust.  To  prove  the  separate 
existence  of  these  degrees  of  consciousness  by  indirect  evi 
dence,  since  direct  intuition  of  them  is  not  to  be  had,  be 
comes  therefore  the  first  duty  of  psychological  evolutionism. 

SOME  ALLEGED  PROOFS  THAT  MIND-DUST  EXISTS. 

Some  of  this  duty  we  find  already  performed  by  a  num 
ber  of  philosophers  who,  though  not  interested  at  all  in 
evolution,  have  nevertheless  on  independent  grounds  con 
vinced  themselves  of  the  existence  of  a  vast  amount  ef 
sub-conscious  mental  life.  The  criticism  of  this  general 
opinion  and  its  grounds  will  have  to  be  postponed  for  a 
while.  At  present  let  us  merely  deal  with  the  arguments 
assumed  to  prove  aggregation  of  bits  of  mind-stuff  into 
distinctly  sensible  feelings.  They  are  clear  and  admit  of  a 
clear  reply. 

The  German  physiologist  A.  Tick,  in  1862,  was,  so  far 
as  I  know,  the  first  to  use  them.  He  made  experiments  on 
the  discrimination  of  the  feelings  of  warmth  and  of  touch, 
when  only  a  very  small  portion  of  the  skin  was  excited 
through  a  hole  in  a  card,  the  surrounding  parts  being  pro 
tected  by  the  card.  He  found  that  under  these  circum 
stances  mistakes  were  frequently  made  by  the  patient,* 
and  concluded  that  this  must  be  because  the  number  of 

*  His  own  words  are:  "  Mistakes  are  made  in  the  sense  that  he  admits 
having  been  touched,  when  in  reality  it  was  radiant  heat  that  affected  his 
skin.  In  our  own  before-mentioned  experiments  there  was  never  any  de 
ception  on  the  entire  palmar  side  of  the  hand  or  on  the  face.  On  the  back 
of  the  hand  in  one  case  in  a  series  of  60  stimulations  4  mistakes  occurred, 
in  another  case  2  mistakes  in  45  stimulations.  On  the  extensor  side  of  the 
upper  arm  3  deceptions  out  of  48  stimulations  were  noticed,  and  in  the  case 
of  another  individual,  1  out  of  31.  In  one  case  over  the  spine  3  deceptions 
in  a  series  of  11  excitations  were  observed  ;  in  another,  4  out  of  19.  On 
the  lumbar  spine  6  deceptions  came  among  29  stimulations,  and  again  4 
out  of  7.  There  is  certainly  not  yet  enough  material  on  which  to  rest  a 
calculation  of  probabilities,  but  any  one  can  easily  convince  himself  that 
on  the  back  there  is  no  question  of  even  a  moderately  accurate  discrimina 
tion  between  warmth  and  a  light  pressure  so  far  as  but  small  portions  of 
skin  come  into  play.  It  has  been  as  yet  impossible  to  make  corresponding 
experiments  with  regard  to  sensibility  to  cold."  (Lehrb.  d.  Anat.  u 
Physiol.  d.  Siuuesorgane  (1862),  p.  29.) 


THE  MIND- STUFF  THEORY.  151 

sensations  from  the  elementary  nerve-tips  affected  was  too 
small  to  sum  itself  distinctly  into  either  of  the  qualities  of 
feeling  in  question.  He  tried  to  show  how  a  different 
manner  of  the  summation  might  give  rise  in  one  case  to  the 
heat  and  in  another  to  the  touch. 

"A  feeling  of  temperature."  he  says,  ''arises  when  the  intensities 
of  the  units  of  feeling  are  evenly  gradated,  so  that  between  two 
elements  a  and  6  no  other  unit  can  spatially  intervene  whose  intensity 
is  not  also  between  that  of  a  and  b,  A  feeling  of  contact  perhaps  arises 
when  this  condition  is  not  fulfilled.  Both  kinds  of  feeling,  however,  are 
composed  of  the  same  units." 

But  it  is  obviously  far  clearer  to  interpret  such  a  grada 
tion  of  intensities  as  a  brain-fact  than  as  a  mind-fact.  If 
in  the  brain  a  tract  were  first  excited  in  one  of  the  ways 
suggested  by  Prof.  Tick,  and  then  again  in  the  other,  it 
might  very  well  happen,  for  aught  we  can  say  to  the  con 
trary,  that  the  psychic  accompaniment  in  the  one  case  would 
be  heat,  and  in  the  other  pain.  The  pain  and  the  heat  would, 
however,  not  be  composed  of  psychic  units,  but  would  each 
be  the  direct  result  of  one  total  brain-process.  So  long  as 
this  latter  interpretation  remains  open,  Tick  cannot  be  held 
to  have  proved  psychic  summation. 

Later,  both  Spencer  and  Taine,  independently  of  each 
other,  took  up  the  same  line  of  thought.  Mr.  Spencer's 
reasoning  is  worth  quoting  in  extenso.  He  writes  : 

"  Although  the  individual  sensations  and  emotions,  real  or  ideal,  of 
which  consciousness  is  built  up,  appear  to  be  severally  simple,  homo 
geneous,  unanalyzable,  or  of  inscrutable  natures,  yet  they  are  not  so. 
There  is  at  least  one  kind  of  feeling  which,  as  ordinarily  experienced, 
seems  elementary,  that  is  demonstrably  not  elementary.  And  after  re 
solving  it  into  its  proximate  components,  we  can  scarcely  help  suspect 
ing  that  other  apparently-elementary  feelings  are  also  compound,  and 
may  have  proximate  components  like  those  which  we  can  in  this  one 
instance  identify. 

"  Musical  sound  is  the  name  we  give  to  this  seemingly  simple  feeling 
which  is  clearly  resolvable  into  simpler  feelings.  Well-known  experi 
ments  prove  that  when  equal  blows  or  taps  are  made  one  after  another 
at  a  rate  not  exceeding  some  sixteen  per  second,  the  effect  of  each  is 
perceived  as  a  separate  noise ;  but  when  the  rapidity  with  which  the 
blows  follow  one  another  exceeds  this,  the  noises  are  no  longer  identified 
in  separate  states  of  consciousness,  and  there  arises  in  place  of  them  a 
continuous  state  of  consciousness,  called  a  tone-  In  further  increasing 


152  PSYCHOLOGY. 

the  rapidity  of  the  blows,  the  tone  undergoes  the  change  of  quality  dis 
tinguished  as  rise  in  pitch  ;  and  it  continues  to  rise  in  pitch  as  the  blows 
continue  to  increase  in  rapidity,  until  it  reaches  an  acuteness  beyond 
which  it  is  no  longer  appreciable  as  a  tone.  So  that  out  of  units  of  feel 
ing  of  the  same  kind  ~  many  feelings  distinguishable  from  one  another 
in  quality  result,  according  as  the  units  are  more  or  less  integrated. 

"  This  is  not  all.  The  inquiries  of  Professor  Helmholtz  have  shown 
that  when,  along  with  one  series  of  these  rapidly-recurring  noises,  there 
is  generated  another  series  in  which  the  noises  are  more  rapid  though 
not  so  loud,  the  effect  is  a  change  in  that  quality  known  as  its  timbre. 
As  various  musical  instruments  show  us,  tones  which  are  alike  in  pitch 
and  strength  are  distinguishable  by  their  harshness  or  sweetness,  their 
ringing  or  their  liquid  characters;  and  all  their  specific(peculiarities  are 
proved  to  arise  from  the  combination  of  one,  two,  thrfee,  or  more,  sup 
plementary  series  of  recurrent  noises  with  the  chief  series  of  recurrent 
noises.  So  that  while  the  unlikenesses  of  feeling  known  as  differences 
of  pitch  in  tones  are  due  to  differences  of  integration  among  the  recur 
rent  noises  of  one  series,  the  unlikenesses  of  feeling  known  as  differ 
ences  of  timbre,  are  due  to  the  simultaneous  integration  with  this  series 
of  other  series  having  other  degrees  of  integration.  And  thus  an 
enormous  number  of  qualitatively-contrasted  kinds  of  consciousness 
that  seem  severally  elementary  prove  to  be  composed  of  one  simple 
kind  of  consciousness,  combined  and  recombined  with  itself  in  multi 
tudinous  ways. 

"Can  we  stop  short  here?  If  the  different  sensations  known  as 
sounds  are  built  out  of  a  common  unit,  is  it  not  to  be  rationally  inferred 
that  so  likewise  are  the  different  sensations  known  as  tastes,  and  the 
different  sensations  known  as  odors,  and  the  different  sensations  known 
as  colors  ?  Nay,  shall  we  not  regard  it  as  probable  that  there  is  a  unit 
common  to  all  these  strongly-contrasted  classes  of  sensations  ?  If  the 
unlikenesses  among  the  sensations  of  each  class  may  be  due  to  unlike 
nesses  among  the  modes  of  aggregation  of  a  unit  of  consciousness  com 
mon  to  them  all ;  so  too  may  the  much  greater  unlikenesses  between 
the  sensations  of  each  class  and  those  of  other  classes.  There  may  be  a 
single  primordial  element  of  consciousness,  and  the  countless  kinds  of 
consciousness  may  be  produced  by  the  compounding  of  this  element 
with  itself  and  the  recompounding  of  its  compounds  with  one  another 
in  higher  and  higher  degrees :  so  producing  increased  multiplicity, 
variety,  and  complexity. 

"Have  we  any  clue  to  this  primordial  element  ?  I  think  we  have. 
That  simple  mental  impression  which  proves  to  be  the  unit  of  composi 
tion  of  the  sensation  of  musical  tone,  is  allied  to  certain  other  simple 
mental  impressions  differently  originated.  The  subjective  effect  pro 
duced  by  a  crack  or  noise  that  has  no  appreciable  duration  is  little 
else  than  a  nervous  shock.  Though  we  distinguish  such  a  nervous 
shock  as  belonging  to  what  we  call  sounds,  yet  it  does  not  differ  very 
much  from  nervous  shocks  of  other  kinds.  An  electric  discharge  sent 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  158 

through  the  body  causes  a  feeling  akin  to  that  which  a  sudden  loud  re 
port  causes.  A  strong  unexpected  impression  made  through  the  eyes, 
as  by  a  flash  of  lightning,  similarly  gives  rise  to  a  start  or  shock  ;  and 
though  the  feeling  so  named  seems,  like  the  electric  shock,  to  have  the 
body  at  large  for  its  seat,  and  may  therefore  be  regarded  as  the  correla' 
tive  rather  of  the  efferent  than  of  the  afferent  disturbance,  yet  on  re 
membering  the  mental  change  that  results  from  the  instantaneous 
transit  of  an  object  across  the  field  of  vision,  I  think  it  may  be  perceived 
that  the  feeling  accompanying  the  efferent  disturbance  is  itself  reduced 
very  nearly  to  the  same  form.  The  state  of  consciousness  so  generated 
is,  in  fact,  comparable  in  quality  to  the  initial  state  of  consciousness 
caused  by  a  blow  (distinguishing  it  from  the  pain  or  other  feeling  that 
commences  theJnstant  after);  which  state  of  consciousness  caused  by  a 
blow  may  be  tSten  as  the  primitive  and  typical  form  of  the  nervous 
shock.  The  fa'ct  that  sudden  brief  disturbances  thus  set  up  by  differ 
ent  stimuli  through  different  sets  of  nerves  cause  feelings  scarcely 
distinguishable  in  quality  will  not  appear  strange  when  we  recollect  that 
distinguishableness  of  feeling  implies  appreciable  duration;  and  that 
when  the  duration  is  greatly  abridged,  nothing  more  is  known  than  that 
some  mental  change  has  occurred  and  ceased.  To  have  a  sensation  of 
redness,  to  know  a  tone  as  acute  or  grave,  to  be  conscious  of  a  taste  as 
sweet,  implies  in  each  case  a  considerable  continuity  of  state.  If  tl# 
state  does  not  last  long  enough  to  admit  of  its  being  contemplated,  it 
cannot  be  classed  as  of  this  or  that  kind;  and  becomes  a  momentary 
modification  very  similar  to  momentary  modifications  otherwise  caused. 
"It  is  possible,  then — may  we  not  even  say  probable? — that  some 
thing  of  the  same  order  as  that  which  we  call  a  nervous  shock  is  the 
ultimate  unit  of  consciousness  ;  and  that  all  the  unlikenes^es  among 
our  feelings  result  from  unlike  modes  of  integration  of  this  ultimate 
unit.  I  say  of  the  same  order,  because  there  are  discernible  differences 
among  nervous  shocks  that  are  differently  caused  ;  and  the  primitive 
nervous  shock  probably  differs  somewhat  from  each  of  them.  And  I 
say  of  the  same  order,  for  the  further  reason  that  while  we  may 
ascribe  to  them  a  general  likeness  in  nature,  we  must  suppose  a  great 
unlikeness  in  degree.  The  nervous  shocks  recognized  as  such  are  vio 
lent — must  be  violent  before  they  can  be  perceived  amid  the  proces 
sion  of  multitudinous  vivid  feelings  suddenly  interrupted  by  them. 
But  the  rapidly-recurring  nervous  shocks  of  which  the  different  forms 
of  feeling  consist,  we  must  assume  to  be  of  comparatively  moderate,  or 
even  of  very  slight  intensity.  Were  our  various  sensations  and  emotions 
composed  of  rapidly-recurring  shocks  as  strong  as  those  ordinarily 
called  shocks,  they  would  be  unbearable  ;  indeed  life  would  cease  at 
once.  We  must  think  of  them  rather  as  successive  faint  pulses  of  sub 
jective  change,  each  having  the  same  quality  as  the  strong  pulse  of 
subjective  change  distinguished  as  a  nervous  shock."  * 

*  Principles  of  Psychology,  §60, 


154 


PSYCHOLOGY. 
INSUFFICIENCY  OF  THESE  PKOOPS. 


Convincing  as  this  argument  of  Mr.  Spencer's  may 
appear  on  a  first  reading,  it  is  singular  how  weak  it  really 
is.*  We  do,  it  is  true,  when  we  study  the  connection  be 
tween  a  musical  note  and  its  outward  cause,  find  the  note 
simple  and  continuous  while  the  cause  is  multiple  and  dis 
crete.  Somewhere,  then,  there  is  a  transformation,  reduc 
tion,  or  fusion.  The  question  is,  Where  ? — in  the  nerve* 


One  second  of  time. 

FIG.  25. 

world  or  in  the  mind- world  ?     Really  we  have  no  experi 
mental  proof  by  which  to  decide  ;  and  if  decide  we  must, 

*  Oddly  enough,  Mr.  Spencer  seems  quite  unaware  of  the  general  func 
tion  of  the  theory  of  elementary  units  of  mind-stuff  in  the  evolutionary 
philosophy.  We  have  seen  it  to  be  absolutely  indispensable,  if  that  phi 
losophy  is  to  work,  to  postulate  consciousness  in  the  nebula, — the  simplest 
way  being,  of  course,  to  suppose  every  atom  animated.  Mr.  Spencer,  how 
ever,  will  have  it  (e.g.  First  Principles,  §  71)  that  consciousness  is  only  the 
occasional  result  of  the  '  transformation  '  of  a  certain  amount  of  '  physical 
force '  to  which  it  is  '  equivalent.'  Presumably  a  brain  must  already  be  there 
before  any  such  '  transformation '  can  take  place ;  and  so  the  argument 
quoted  in  the  text  stands  as  a  mere  local  detail,  without  general  bearings. 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  155 

analogy  and  a  priori  probability  can  alone  guide  us.  Mr. 
Spencer  assumes  that  the  fusion  must  come  to  pass  in  the 
mental  world,  and  that  the  physical  processes  get  through 
air  and  ear,  auditory  nerve  and  medulla,  lower  brain  and 
hemispheres,  without  their  number  being  reduced.  Figure 
25,  on  the  previous  page,  will  make  the  point  clear. 

Let  the  line  a — b  represent  the  threshold  of  conscious^ 
ness  :  then  everything  drawn  below  that  line  will  symbolize 
a  physical  process,  everything  above  it  will  mean  a  fact 
of  mind.  Let  the  crosses  stand  for  the  physical  blows,  the 
circles  for  theevents  in  successively  higher  orders  of  nerve- 
cells,  and  tll|  horizontal  marks  for  the  facts  of  feeling. 
Spencer's  argument  implies  that  each  order  of  cells  trans 
mits  just  as  many  impulses  as  it  receives  to  the  cells  above 
it ;  so  that  if  the  blows  come  at  the  rate  of  20,000  in  a  second 
the  cortical  cells  discharge  at  the  same  rate,  and  one  unit 
of  feeling  corresponds  to  each  one  of  the  20,000  discharges. 
Then,  and  only  then,  does  'integration'  occur,  by  the 
20,000  units  of  feeling  '  compounding  with  themselves '  into 
the  'continuous  state  of  consciousness'  represented  by  the 
short  line  at  the  top  of  the  figure. 

Now  such  an  interpretation  as  this  flies  in  the  face  of 
physical  analogy,  no  less  than  of  logical  intelligibility. 
Consider  physical  analogy  first. 

A  pendulum  may  be  deflected  by  a  single  blow,  and  swing 
back.  Will  it  swing  back  the  more  often  the  more  we  multi 
ply  the  blows  ?  No  ;  for  if  they  rain  upon  the  pendulum  too 
fast,  it  will  not  swing  at  all  but  remain  deflected  in  a  sensi 
bly  stationary  state.  In  other  words,  increasing  the  cause 
numerically  need  not  equally  increase  numerically  the 
eft'ect.  Blow  through  a  tube :  you  get  a  certain  musical 
note  ;  and  increasing  the  blowing  increases  for  a  certain  time 
the  loudness  of  the  note.  Will  this  be  true  indefinitely  ? 
No  ;  for  when  a  certain  force  is  reached,  the  note,  instead  of 
growing  louder,  suddenly  disappears  and  is  replaced  by  its 
higher  octave.  Turn  on  the  gas  slightly  and  light  it :  you 
get  a  tiny  flame.  Turn  on  more  gas,  and  the  breadth  of  the 
.flame  increases.  Will  this  relation  increase  indefinitely? 
No,  again ;  for  at  a  certain  moment  up  shoots  the  flame 
into  a  ragged  streamer  and  begins  to  hiss.  Send  slowly 


156  PSYCHOLOGY. 

through  the  nerve  of  a  frog's  gastrocnemius  muscle  a  suo 
cession  of  galvanic  shocks :  you  get  a  succession  of  twitches. 
Increasing  the  number  of  shocks  does  not  increase  the 
twitching;  on  the  contrary,  it  stops  it,  and  we  have  the 
muscle  in  the  apparently  stationary  state  of  contraction 
called  tetanus.  This  last  fact  is  the  true  analogue  of  what 
must  happen  between  the  nerve-cell  and  the  sensory  fibre. 
It  is  certain  that  cells  are  more  inert  than  fibres,  and  that 
rapid  vibrations  in  the  latter  can  only  arouse  relatively 
simple  processes  or  states  in  the  former.  The  higher 
cells  may  have  even  a  slower  rate  of  explosion  than  the 
lower,  and  so  the  twenty  thousand  supposejfcblows  of  the 
outer  air  may  be  'integrated'  in  the  cortex  into  a  very 
small  number  of  cell-discharges  in  a  second.  This  other 
diagram  will  serve  to  contrast  this  supposition  with 
Spencer's.  In  Fig.  26  all  'integration'  occurs  below  the 
threshold  of  consciousness.  The  frequency  of  cell-events 
becomes  more  and  more  reduced  as  we  approach  the  cells 
to  which  feeling  is  most  directly  attached,  until  at  last  we 
come  to  a  condition  of  things  symbolized  by  the  larger 
ellipse,  which  may  be  taken  to  stand  for  some  rather 
massive  and  slow  process  of  tension  and  discharge  in  the 
cortical  centres,  to  which,  as  a  ivliole,  the  feeling  of  musical 
tone  symbolized  by  the  line  at  the  top  of  the  diagram 
simply  and  totally  corresponds.  It  is  as  if  a  long  file 

of  men  were  to  start  one  afte-' 
the  other  to  reach  a  distant  point. 
The  road  at  first  is  good  and 
they  keep  their  original  distance 
apart.  Presently  it  is  intersected 
by  bogs  each  worse  than  the  last, 
so  that  the  front  men  get  so  re 
tarded  that  the  hinder  ones  catch 
up  with  them  before  the  journey 
is  done,  and  all  arrive  together 
FIG.  26.  at  the  goal.* 

*  The  compounding  of  colors  may  be  dealt  with  in  an  identical  way. 
Helmholtz  has  shown  that  if  green  light  and  red  light  fall  simultaneously 
on  the  retina,  we  see  the  color  yellow.     The  mind-stuff  theory  would  in 
terpret  this  as  a  case  where  the  feeling  green  and  the  feeling  red  'com 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  157 

On  this  supposition  there  are  no  unperceived  units  of 
mind-stuff  preceding  and  composing  the  full  consciousness. 
The  latter  is  itself  an  immediate  psychic  fact  and  bears 
an  immediate  relation  to  the  neural  state  which  is  its  un 
conditional  accompaniment.  Did  each  neural  shock  give 
rise  to  its  own  psychic  shock,  and  the  psychic  shocks  then 
combine,  it  would  be  impossible  to  understand  why  sever 
ing  one  part  of  the  central  nervous  system  from  another 
should  break  up  the  integrity  of  the  consciousness.  The 
cut  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  psychic  world.  The  atoms 
of  mind-stufkouglit  to  float  off  from  the  nerve-matter  on 
either  side*c^pt,  and  come  together  over  it  and  fuse,  just 
as  well  as  i^t  had  not  been  made.  We  know,  however, 
that  they  do  not ;  that  severance  of  the  paths  of  conduction 
between  a  man's  left  auditory  centre  or  optical  centre  and 
the  rest  of  his  cortex  will  sever  all  communication  between 
the  words  which  he  hears  or  sees  written  and  the  rest  of 
his  ideas. 

Moreover,  if  feelings  can  mix  into  a  tertium  quid,  why 
do  we  not  take  a  feeling  of  greenness  and  a  feeling  of  red 
ness,  and  make  a  feeling  of  yellowness  out  of  them  ?  Why 
has  optics  neglected  the  open  road  to  truth,  and  wasted 
centuries  in  disputing  about  theories  of  color-composition 
which  two  minutes  of  introspection  would  have  settled 
forever  ?  *  We  cannot  mix  feelings  as  such,  though  we  may 
mix  the  objects  we  feel,  and  from  their  mixture  get  new 
feelings.  We  cannot  even  (as  we  shall  later  see)  have  two 
feelings  in  our  mind  at  once.  At  most  we  can  compare 
together  objects  previously  presented  to  us  in  distinct  feel 
ings  ;  but  then  we  find  each  object  stubbornly  maintaining 


bine  '  into  the  tertium  quid  of  feeling,  yellow.  What  really  occurs  is  no 
doubt  that  a  third  kind  of  nerve-process  is  set  up  when  the  combined  lights 
impinge  on  the  retina, — not  simply  the  process  of  red  plus  the  process  of 
green,  but  something  quite  different  from  both  or  either.  Of  course,  then, 
there  are  no  feelings,  either  of  red  or  of  green,  present  to  the  mind  at  all  , 
but  the  feeling  of  yellow  which  is  there,  answers  as  directly  to  the  nerve, 
process  which  momentarily  then  exists,  as  the  feelings  of  green  and  red 
would  answer  to  their  respective  nerve-processes  did  the  latter  happen  to  be 
taking  place. 

*  Cf.  Mill's  Logic,  book  vi.  chao.  iv.  §  3. 


158  PSYCHOLOGY, 

its   separate   identity  before   consciousness,  whatever  the 
verdict  of  the  comparison  may  be.* 

SELF-COMPOUNDING   OF   MENTAL   FACTS    IS    INADMISSIBLE. 

But  there  is  a  still  more  fatal  objection  to  the  theory  of 
mental  units  '  compounding  with  themselves  '  or  '  integrat 
ing.'  It  is  logically  unintelligible  ;  it  leaves  out  the  es 
sential  feature  of  all  the  '  combinations '  we  actually  know. 

All  the  '  combinations '  which  we  actually  know  are  EFFECTS, 
wrought  by  the  units  said  to  be  '  combined,'  UPONSOME  ENTITY 
OTHER  THAN  THEMSELVES.  Without  this  featu^U  a  medium 
or  vehicle,  the  notion  of  combination  has  noWvi 

"  A  multitude  of  contractile  units,  by  joint  action,  and  by  being  all 
connected,  for  instance,  with  a  single  tendon,  will  pull  at  the  same,  and 
will  bring  about  a  dynamical  effect  which  is  undoubtedly  the  resultant 
of  their  combined  individual  energies.  ...  On  the  whole,  tendons  are 
to  muscular  fibres,  and  bones  are  to  tendons,  combining  recipients  of 
mechanical  energies.  A  medium  of  composition  is  indispensable  to  the 
summation  of  energies.  To  realize  the  complete  dependence  of  mechan 
ical  resultants  on  a  combining  substratum,  one  may  fancy  for  a  moment 
all  the  individually  contracting  muscular  elements  severed  from  their 
attachments.  They  might  then  still  be  capable  of  contracting  with  the 
same  energy  as  before,  yet  no  co-operative  result  would  be  accomplished. 
The  medium  of  dynamical  combination  would  be  wanting.  The  mul 
tiple  energies,  singly  exerted  on  no  common  recipient,  would  lose 
themselves  on  entirely  isolated  and  disconnected  efforts,  "f 

In  other  words,  no  possible  number  of  entities  (call  them 
as  you  like,  whether  forces,  material  particles,  or  mental 
elements)  can  sum  themselves  together.  Each  remains,  in 
the  sum,  what  it  always  was  ;  and  the  sum  itself  exists  only 
for  a  bystander  who  happens  to  overlook  the  units  and  to 

*  I  find  in  my  students  an  almost  invincible  tendency  to  think  that  we 
can  immediately  perceive  that  feelings  do  combine.  "  What  !"  they  say, 
"  is  not  the  taste  of  lemonade  composed  of  that  of  leinon  plus  that  of 
sugar?"  This  is  taking  the  combining  of  objects  for  that  of  feelings. 
The  physical  lemonade  contains  both  the  lemon  and  the  sugar,  but  its 
taste  does  not  contain  their  tastes,  for  if  there  are  any  two  things  which 
are  certainly  not  present  in  the  taste  of  lemonade,  those  are  the  lemon-sour 
on  the  one  hand  and  the  sugar-sweet  on  the  other.  These  tastes  are 
absent  utterly.  Ths  entirely  new  taste  which  is  present  resembles,  it  is  true, 
both  those  tastes  ;  but  in  Chapter  XIII  we  shall  see  that  resemblance  can 
not  always  be  held  to  involve  partial  identity. 

i  E.  Montgomery,  in  'Mind.'  v.  18-19.     See  also  Dp.  24-5. 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  159 

apprehend  the  sum  as  such  ;  or  else  it  exists  in  the  shape 
of  some  other  effect  on  an  entity  external  to  the  sum  itself. 
Let  it  not  be  objected  that  H2  and  O  combine  of  themselves 
into  'water,'  and  thenceforward  exhibit  new  properties. 
They  do  not.  The  '  water '  is  just  the  old  atoms  in  the 
new  position,  H-O-H ;  the  '  new  properties '  are  just  their 
combined  effects ,  when  in  this  position,  upon  external  media, 
such  as  our  sense-organs  and  the  various  reagents  on  which 
water  may  exert  its  properties  and  be  known. 

"  Aggregations  are  organized  wholes  only  when  they  behave  as  such 
in  the  presenajji  other  things.  A  statue  is  an  aggregation  of  par 
ticles  of  marb^^Bbt  as  such  it  has  no  unity.  For  the  spectator  it  is 
one;  in  itself  ro^Pan  aggregate;  just  as,  to  the  consciousness  of  an  ant 
crawling  over  it,  it  may  again  appear  a  mere  aggregate.  No  summing 
up  of  parts  can  make  an  unity  of  a  mass  of  discrete  constituents,  unless 
this  unity  exist  for  some  other  subject,  not  for  the  mass  itself."  * 

Just  so,  in  the  parallelogram  of  forces,  the  '  forces ' 
themselves  do  not  combine  into  the  diagonal  resultant ;  a 
body  is  needed  on  which  they  may  impinge,  to  exhibit  their 
resultant  effect.  No  more  do  musical  sounds  combine  per 
se  into  concords  or  discords.  Concord  and  discord  are 
names  for  their  combined  effects  on  that  external  medium, 
the  ear. 

*  J.  Royce,  '  Mind,'  vi.  p.  376.  Lotze  has  set  forth  the  truth  of  this  law 
more  clearly  and  copiously  than  any  other  writer.  Unfortunately  lie  is  too 
lengthy  to  quote.  See  his  Microco&mus,  bk.  ir.  ch.  i.  §  5;  Metaphysik, 
§§  242,  260  ;  Outlines  of  Metaphysics,  part  n.  chap.  i.  §§  3,  4,  5.  Compare 
ulso  Reid's  Intellectual  Powers,  essay  v,  chap,  mad  Jin.,-  Bowne's  Meta 
physics,  pp.  361-76;  St.  J.  Mivart :  Nature  and  Thought,  pp.  98-101;  E. 
Gurney:  'Monism,'  in  'Mind.'vi.  153;  and  the  article  by  Prof .  Royce, 
just  quoted,  on  '  Mind-stuff  and  Reality.' 

In  defence  of  the  mind-stuff  mew ,  see  W.  K.  Clifford:  '  Mind,'  in.  57  (re 
printed  in  his  'Lectures  and  Essays,'  n.  71);  G.  T.  Fechner,  Psycho 
physik,  Bd.  n.  cap.  XLV;  H.  Taiue:  on  Intelligence,  bk.  in;  E.  Haeckel: 
'  Zellseelen  u.  Seelenzellen  '  in  Gesammelte  pop.  Vortrage,  Bd.  i.  p.  143;  W. 
S.  Duncan  ;  Conscious  Matter,  pasttim;  H.  Z5llner:  Natur  d.  Cometen,  pp. 
320  ff.;  Alfred  Barratt:  '  Physical  Ethic  'and  '  Physical  Metempiric, ' pas- 
wm;  J.  Soury:  '  Hylozoismus,'  in  '  Kosmos,'  V.  Jahrg.,  Heft  x.  p.  241;  A. 
Main:  'Mind,'  i.  292,  431,  566;  n.  129,  402;  Id.  Revue  Philos.,  n.  86,  88, 
419;  m.  51,502;  iv.  402;  F.  W.  Fraukland:  'Mind.'  vi.  116;  Whittaker: 
'Mind,'  vi.  498  (historical);  Morton  Prince:  The  Nature  of  Mind  and 
Human  Automatism  (1885);  A.  Riehl:  Der  philosophische  Kriticismus,  Bd. 
n.  Theil  2,  2ter  Absclmitt,  2tes  Cap.  (1887).  The  clearest  of  all  these 
Statements  is,  as  far  as  it  goes,  that  of  Prince. 


160  PSYCHOLOGY. 

"Where  the  elemental  units  are  supposed  to  be  feelings, 
the  case  is  in  no  wise  altered.  Take  a  hundred  of  them, 
shuffle  them  and  pack  them  as  close  together  as  you  can 
(whatever  that  may  mean) ;  still  each  remains  the  same  feel 
ing  it  always  was,  shut  in  its  own  skin,  windowless,  igno 
rant  of  what  the  other  feelings  are  and  mean.  There  would 
be  a  hundred-and-first  feeling  there,  if,  when  a  group  or 
series  of  such  feelings  were  set  up,  a  consciousness  belong 
ing  to  the  group  as  such  should  emerge.  And  this  101st  feel 
ing  would  be  a  totally  new  fact ;  the  100  original  feelings 
might,  by  a  curious  physical  law,  be  a  signa^tkits  creation, 
when  they  came  together;  but  they  woulc^lpive  no  sub 
stantial  identity  with  it,  nor  it  with  them,  Ima  one  could 
never  deduce  the  one  from  the  others,  or  (in  any  intelligible 
sense)  say  that  they  evolved  it. 

Take  a  sentence  of  a  dozen  words,  and  take  twelve  men 
and  tell  to  each  one  word.  Then  stand  the  men  in  a  row  or 
jam  them  in  a  bunch,  and  let  each  think  of  his  word  as 
intently  as  he  will;  nowhere  will  there  be  a  consciousness 
of  the  whole  sentence.*  We  talk  of  the  'spirit  of  the  age,' 
and  the  '  sentiment  of  the  people,'  and  in  various  ways  we 
hypostatize  'public  opinion.'  But  we  know  this  to  be  sym 
bolic  speech,  and  never  dream  that  the  spirit,  opinion, 
sentiment,  etc.,  constitute  a  consciousness  other  thai],  and 
additional  to,  that  of  the  several  individuals  whom  the 
words  'age,'  'people,'  or  'public'  denote.  The  private 
minds  do  not  agglomerate  into  a  higher  compound  mind. 
This  has  always  been  the  invincible  contention  of  the 
spiritualists  against  the  associationists  in  Psychology, — a 
contention  which  we  shall  take  up  at  greater  length  in 
Chapter  X.  The  associationists  say  the  mind  is  constituted 


*"  Someone  might  say  that  although  it  is  true  that  neither  a  blind 
man  nor  a  deaf  man  by  himself  can  compare  sounds  with  colors,  yet 
since  one  hears  and  the  other  sees  they  might  do  so  both  together.  .  .  . 
But  whether  they  are  apart  or  close  together  makes  no  difference ;  not  even 
if  they  permanently  keep  house  together ;  no,  not  if  they  were  Siamese 
twins,  or  more  than  Siamese  twins,  and  were  inseparably  grown  together, 
would  it  make  the  assumption  any  more  possible.  Only  when  sound  and 
color  are  represented  in  the  same  reality  is  it  thinkable  that  they  should 
be  compared."  (Brentano:  Psychologic,  p.  209.) 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  161 

by  a  multiplicity  of  distinct  '  ideas '  associated  into  a  unity. 
There  is,  they  say,  an  idea  of  a,  and  also  an  idea  of  b. 
Therefore,  they  say,  there  is  an  idea  of  a  -f-  &,  or  of  a  and  b 
together.  Which  is  like  saying  that  the  mathematical 
square  of  a  plus  that  of  b  is  equal  to  the  square  of  a  -\-  b, 
a  palpable  untruth.  Idea  of  a  -j-  idea  of  b  is  not  identical 
with  idea  of  (a  -{-  b).  It  is  one,  they  are  two ;  in  it,  what 
knows  a  also  knows  &;  in  them,  what  knows  a  is  expressly 
posited  as  not  knowing  b ;  etc.  In  short,  the  two  separate 
ideas  can  never  by  any  logic  be  made  to  figure  as  one  and 
the  same  tl^fl^is  the  'associated'  idea. 

This  is  J^P  the  spiritualists  keep  saying  ;  and  since  we 
do,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  have  the  '  compounded  '  idea,  and  do 
know  a  and  b  together,  they  adopt  a  farther  hypothesis  to 
explain  that  fact.  The  separate  ideas  exist,  they  say,  but 
affect  a  third  entity,  the  soul.  This  has  the  l  compounded ' 
idea,  if  you  please  so  to  call  it ;  and  the  compounded  idea 
is  an  altogether  new  psychic  fact  to  which  the  separate  ideas 
stand  in  the  relation,  not  of  constituents,  but  of  occasions 
of  production. 

This  argument  of  the  spiritualists  against  the  association- 
ists  has  never  been  answered  by  the  latter.  It  holds  good 
against  any  talk  about  self-compounding  amongst  feelings, 
against  any  '  blending,'  or  '  complication,'  or  '  mental 
chemistry,'  or  'psychic  synthesis,'  which  supposes  a  re 
sultant  consciousness  to  float  off  from  the  constituents  per  se, 
in  the  absence  of  a  supernumerary  principle  of  conscious 
ness  which  they  may  affect.  The  mind-stuff  theory,  in 
short,  is  unintelligible.  Atoms  of  feeling  cannot  compose 
higher  feelings,  any  more  than  atoms  of  matter  can  compose 
physical  things!  The  'things,'  for  a  clear-headed  ato 
mistic  evolutionist,  are  not.  Nothing  is  but  the  everlasting 
atoms.  When  grouped  in  a  certain  way,  ive  name  them 
this  '  thing '  or  that ;  but  the  thing  we  name  has  no  exist 
ence  out  of  our  mind.  So  of  the  states  of  mind  which  are 
supposed  to  be  compound  because  they  know  many  differ 
ent  things  together.  Since  indubitably  such  states  do  exist, 
they  must  exist  as  single  new  facts,  effects,  possibly,  as 
the  spiritualists  say,  on  the  Soul  (we  will  not  decide  that 


162  PSYCHOLOGY. 

point  here),  but  at  any  rate  independent  and  integral,  and 
not  compounded  of  psychic  atoms.* 

CAN  STATES  OF  MIND  BE  UNCONSCIOUS? 

The  passion  for  unity  and  smoothness  is  in  some  minds 
so  insatiate  that,  in  spite  of  the  logical  clearness  of  these 
reasonings  and  conclusions,  many  will  fail  to  be  influenced 
by  them.  They  establish  a  sort  of  disjointedness  in  things 
which  in  certain  quarters  will  appear  intolerable.  They 

*  The  reader  must  observe  that  we  are  reasoning  ab^^her  about  the 
logic  of  the  mind-stuff  theory,  about  whether  it  can  ea^KBthe  constitution 
of  higher  mental  states  by  viewing  them  as  identv^^Hlih  lower  ones 
summed  together.  We  say  the  two  sorts  of  fact  are  not  icrentical :  a  higher 
state  is  not  a  lot  of  lower  states  ;  it  is  itself.  When,  however,  a  lot  of 
lower  states  have  come  together,  or  when  certain  brain-conditions  occur 
together  which,  if  they  occurred  separately,  would  produce  a  lot  of  lower 
states,  we  have  not  for  a  moment  pretended  that  a  higher  state  may  not 
emerge.  In  fact  it  does  emerge  under  those  conditions  ;  and  our  Chapter 
IX  will  be  mainly  devoted  to  the  proof  of  this  fact.  But  such  emergence 
is  that  of  a  new  psychic  entity,  and  is  ioto  coslo  different  from  such  an 
'integration'  of  the  lower  states  as  the  mind-stuff  theory  affirms. 

It  may  seem  strange  to  suppose  that  anyone  should  mistake  criticism  of 
a  certain  theory  about  a  fact  for  doubt  of  the  fact  itself.  And  yet  the 
confusion  is  made  in  high  quarters  enough  to  justify  our  remarks.  Mr.  J. 
Ward,  in  his  article  Psychology  in  the  Encyclopaedia  Britannica,  speak 
ing  of  the  hypothesis  that  "a  series  of  feelings  can  be  aware  of  itself  as 
a  series,"  says  (p.  39):  "  Paradox  is  too  mild  a  word  for  it,  even  contradiction 
will  hardly  suffice."  Whereupon,  Professor  Bain  takes  him  thus  to  task: 
"  As  to  'a  series  of  states  being  aware  of  itself,  I  confess  I  see  no  insur 
mountable  difficulty.  It  may  be  a  fact,  or  not  a  fact ;  it  may  be  a  very 
clumsy  expression  for  what  it  is  applied  to  ;  but  it  is  neither  paradox  nor 
contradiction.  A  series  merely  contradicts  an  individual,  or  it  may  be 
two  or  more  individuals  as  coexisting  ;  but  that  is  too  general  to  exclude 
the  possibility  of  self-knowledge.  It  certainly  does  not  bring  the  property 
of  self-knowledge  into  the  foreground,  which,  however,  is  not  the  same 
as  denying  it.  An  algebraic  series  might  know  itself,  without  any  con 
tradiction  :  the  only  thing  against  it  is  the  want  of  evidence  of  the  fact.' 
('  Mind,'  xt.  459).  Prof.  Bain  thinks,  then,  that  all  the  bother  is  about  the 
difficulty  of  seeing  how  a  series  of  feelings  can  have  the  knowledge  of 
itself  added  to  it  f  !  !  As  if  anybody  ever  was  troubled  about  that.  That, 
notoriously  enough,  is  a  fact :  our  consciousness  is  a  series  of  feelings  to 
which  every  now  and  then  is  added  a  retrospective  consciousness  that  they 
have  come  and  gone.  What  Mr.  Ward  and  I  are  troubled  about  is  merely 
the  silliness  of  the  mind-stuffists  and  associationists  continuing  to  say  that 
the  '  series  of  states '  is  the  '  awareness  of  itself  ;'  that  if  the  states  be  posited 
severally,  their  collective  consciousness  is  eo  ipso  given  ;  and  that  we  need 
no  farther  explanation,  or  '  evidence  of  the  fact.' 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  153 

sweep  away  all  chance  of  '  passing  without  break '  either 
from  the  material  to  the  mental,  or  from  the  lower  to  the 
higher  mental ;  and  they  thrust  us  back  into  a  pluralism  of 
consciousnesses — each  arising  discontinuously  in  the  midst 
of  two  disconnected  worlds,  material  and  mental — which  is 
even  worse  than  the  old  notion  of  the  separate  creation  of 
each  particular  soul.  But  the  malcontents  will  hardly  try 
to  refute  oi?r  reasonings  by  direct  attack.  It  is  more  prob 
able  that,  turning  their  back  upon  them  altogether,  they 
will  devote  themselves  to  sapping  and  mining  the  region 
roundabou^^til  it  is  a  bog  of  logical  liquefaction,  into  the 
midst  of  NN^^V  all  definite  conclusions  of  any  sort  may  be 
trusted  ere  J^g  to  sink  and  disappear. 

Our  reasonings  have  assumed  that  the  '  integration '  of 
a  thousand  psychic  units  must  be  either  just  the  units  over 
again,  simply  rebaptized,  or  else  something  real,  but  then 
other  than  and  additional  to  those  units ;  that  if  a  certain 
existing  fact  is  that  of  a  thousand  feelings,  it  cannot  at  the 
same  time  be  that  of  ONE  feeling ;  for  the  essence  of  feeling 
is  to  be  felt,  and  as  a  psychic  existent  feels,  so  it  must  be. 
If  the  one  feeling  feels  like  no  one  of  the  thousand,  in  what 
sense  can  it  be  said  to  be  the  thousand  ?  These  assumptions 
are  what  the  monists  will  seek  to  undermine.  The  Hegelizers 
amongst  them  will  take  high  ground  at  once,  and  say 
that  the  glory  and  beauty  of  the  psychic  life  is  that  in  it  all 
contradictions  find  their  reconciliation ;  and  that  it  is  just 
because  the  i'acts  we  are  considering  are  facts  of  the  self 
that  they  are  both  one  and  many  at  the  same  time.  With 
this  intellectual  temper  I  confess  that  I  cannot  contend. 
As  in  striking  at  some  unresisting  gossamer  with  a  club, 
one  but  overreaches  one's  self,  and  the  thing  one  aims  at 
gets  no  harm.  So  I  leave  this  school  to  its  devices. 

The  other  monists  are  of  less  deliquescent  frame,  and 
try  to  break  down  distinctness  among  mental  states  by 
making  a  distinction.  This  sounds  paradoxical,  but  it  is 
only  ingenious.  The  distinction  is  that  between  the  uncon 
scious  and  the  conscious  being  of  the  mental  state.  It  is  the 
sovereign  means  for  believing  what  one  likes  in  psychology, 
and  of  turning  what  might  become  a  science  into  a  tum 
bling-ground  for  whimsies.  It  has  numerous  champions. 


164  PSYCHOLOGY. 

and  elaborate  reasons  to  give  for  itself.  We  must  there* 
fore  accord  it  due  consideration.  In  discussing  the  question : 

DO   UNCONSCIOUS   MENTAL   STATES   EXIST? 

it  will  be  best  to  give  the  list  of  so-called  proofs  as  briefly 
as  possible,  and  to  follow  each  by  its  objection,  as  in  scho 
lastic  books.* 

First  Proof.  The  minimum  visibile,  the  minimum  audibile, 
are  objects  composed  of  parts.  How  can  the  whole  affect 
the  sense  unless  each  part  does  ?  And  yet  each  part  does 
so  without  being  separately  sensible.  Leifrjta  calls  the 
total  consciousness  an  '  aperception,'  the  su^^Bd  insensi 
ble  consciousness  by  the  name  of  l  petites^^eptions* 

"To  judge  of  the  latter,"  he  says,  "  I  am  accustomed  to  use  the  ex 
ample  of  the  roaring  of  the  sea  with  which  one  is  assailed  when  near  the 
shore.  To  hear  this  noise  as  one  does,  one  must  hear  the  parts  which 
compose  its  totality,  that  is,  the  noise  of  each  wave,  .  .  .  although  this 
noise  would  not  be  noticed  if  its  wave  were  alone.  One  must  be  affected 
a  little  by  the  movement  cf  one  wave,  one  must  have  some  perception 
of  each  several  noise,  however  small  it  be.  Otherwise  one  would  not 
hear  that  of  100,000  waves,  for  of  100,000  zeros  one  can  never  make  a 
quantity."  f 

Reply.  This  is  an  excellent  example  of  the  so-called 
'  fallacy  of  division,'  or  predicating  what  is  true  only  of  a 
collection,  of  each  member  of  the  collection  distributively. 
It  no  more  follows  that  if  a  thousand  things  together  cause 
sensation,  one  thing  alone  must  cause  it,  than  it  follows 
that  if  one  pound  weight  moves  a  balance,  then  one  ounce 
weight  must  move  it  too,  in  less  degree.  One  ounce 
weight  does  not  move  it  at  all ;  its  movement  begins  with 

*  The  writers  about  '  unconscious  cerebration  '  seem  sometimes  to  mean 
that  and  sometimes  unconscious  thought.  The  arguments  which  follow 
are  culled  from  various  quarters.  The  reader  will  find  them  most  sys 
tematically  urged  by  E.  von  Hartmann:  Philosophy  of  the  Unconscious,  vol. 
i,  and  by  E,  Colsenet :  La  vie  luconsciente  de  1'Esprit  (1880).  Consult  also 
T.  Laycock  :  Mind  and  Brain,  vol.  i.  chap,  v  (1860);  W.  B.  Carpenter: 
Mental  Physiology,  chap,  xin;  F.  P.  Cobbe :  Darwinism  in  Morals  and 
other  Essays,  essay  xi,  Unconscious  Cerebration  (1872);  F.  Bowen:  Mod 
ern  Philosophy,  pp.  428-480  ;  R.  H.  Hutton :  Contemporary  Review,  vol. 
xxiv.  p.  201  ;  J.  S.  Mill:  Exam,  of  Hamilton,  chap,  xv;  G.  H.  Lewes: 
Problems  of  Life  and  Mind,  3d  series,  Prob.  n.  cbap.  x,  arid  also  Prob. 
in.  chap,  ii :  D.  G.  Thompson:  A  System  of  Psychology,  chap,  xxxni1 
J.  M.  Baldwin,  Hand-book  of  Psychology,  chap.  rv. 

i  Nouveaux  Essais,  Avant-propos. 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  165 

the  pound.  At  most  we  can  say  that  each  ounce  affects 
it  in  some  way  which  helps  the  advent  of  that  move 
ment.  And  so  each  infra-sensible  stimulus  to  a  nerve 
no  doubt  affects  the  nerve  and  helps  the  birth  of  sensa 
tion  when  the  other  stimuli  come.  But  this  affection  is 
a  nerve-affection,  and  there  is  not  the  slightest  ground  for 
supposing  it  to  be  a  *  perception '  unconscious  of  itsell 
"  A  certain  quantity  of  the  cause  may  be  a  necessary  con 
dition  to  the  production  of  any  of  the  effect,"  *  when  the 
latter  is  a  mental  state. 

Second  Jf^kf'-  Iu  a^  acquired  dexterities  and  habits, 
secondarilj^BDmatic  performances  as  they  are  called,  we 
do  what  or^finally  required  a  chain  of  deliberately  con 
scious  perceptions  and  volitions.  As  the  actions  still  keep 
their  intelligent  character,  intelligence  must  still  preside 
over  their  execution.  But  since  our  consciousness  seems 
all  the  while  elsewhere  engaged,  such  intelligence  must 
consist  of  unconscious  perceptions,  inferences,  and  volitions. 

Reply.  There  is  more  than  one  alternative  explanation 
in  accordance  with  larger  bodies  of  fact.  One  is  that  the 
perceptions  and  volitions  in  habitual  actions  may  be  per 
formed  consciously,  only  so  quickly  and  inattentively  that 
no  memory  of  them  remains.  Another  is  that  the  conscious 
ness  of  these  actions  exists,  but  is  split-off  from  the  rest  of 
the  consciousness  of  the  hemispheres.  We  shall  find  in 
Chapter  X  numerous  proofs  of  the  reality  of  this  split-off 
condition  of  portions  of  consciousness.  Since  in  man  the 
hemispheres  indubitably  co-operate  in  these  secondarily 
automatic  acts,  it  will  not  do  to  say  either  that  they  occur 
without  consciousness  or  that  their  consciousness  is  that  of 
the  lower  centres,  which  we  know  nothing  about.  But 
either  lack  of  memory  or  split-off  cortical  consciousness 
will  certainly  account  for  all  of  the  facts.f 

Third  Proof.  Thinking  of  A,  we  presently  find  our 
selves  thinking  of  C.  Now  B  is  the  natural  logical  link 
between  A  and  C,  but  we  have  no  consciousness  of  having 
thought  of  B.  It  must  have  been  in  our  mind  '  wwcon- 

*  J.  S.  Mill,  Exam,  of  Hamilton,  chap.  xv. 
f  Cf.  Dugald  Stewart,  Elements,  chap.  n. 


166  PSYCHOLOGY. 

sciously,'  and  in  that  state  affected  the  sequence  of  oui 
ideas. 

Reply.  Here  again  we  have  a  choice  between  more 
plausible  explanations.  Either  B  was  consciously  there, 
but  the  next  instant  forgotten,  or  its  brain-tract  alone  was 
adequate  to  do  the  whole  work  of  coupling  A  with  C,  with 
out  the  idea  B  being  aroused  at  all,  whether  consciously 
or  'unconsciously.' 

Fourth  Proof.  Problems  unsolved  when  we  go  to  bed 
are  found  solved  in  the  morning  when  we  wak^  Somnam 
bulists  do  rational  things.  We  awaken  pi^^kally  at  an 
hour  predetermined  overnight,  etc.  Uncons^HI  thinking, 
volition,  time-registration,  etc.,  must  have  presided  over 
these  acts. 

Reply.  Consciousness  forgotten,  as  in  the  hypnotic 
trance. 

Fifth  Proof.  Some  patients  will  often,  in  an  attack 
of  epileptiform  unconsciousness,  go  through  complicated 
processes,  such  as  eating  a  dinner  in  a  restaurant  and  pay 
ing  for  it,  or  making  a  violent  homicidal  attack.  In  trance, 
artificial  or  pathological,  long  and  complex  performances, 
involving  the  use  of  the  reasoning  powers,  are  executed,  of 
which  the  patient  is  wholly  unaware  on  coming  to. 

Reply.  Rapid  and  complete  oblivescence  is  certainly 
the  explanation  here.  The  analogue  again  is  hypnotism. 
Tell  the  subject  of  an  hypnotic  trance,  during  his  trance, 
that  he  will  remember,  and  he  may  remember  everything 
perfectly  when  he  awakes,  though  without  your  telling  him 
no  memory  would  have  remained.  The  extremely  rapid 
oblivescence  of  common  dreams  is  a  familiar  fact. 

Sixth  Proof.  In  a  musical  concord  the  vibrations  of  the 
several  notes  are  in  relatively  simple  ratios.  The  mind 
must  unconsciously  count  the  vibrations,  and  be  pleased  by 
the  simplicity  which  it  finds. 

Reply.  The  brain-process  produced  by  the  simple  ratios 
may  be  as  directly  agreeable  as  the  conscious  process  of 
comparing  them  would  be.  No  counting,  either  conscious 
or  'unconscious,'  is  required. 

Seventh  Proof.  Every  hour  we  make  theoretic  judgments 
and  emotional  reactions,  and  exhibit  practical  tendencies, 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  167 

for  which  wre  can  give  no  explicit  logical  justification,  but 
which  are  good  inferences  from  certain  premises.  We 
know  more  than  we  can  say.  Our  conclusions  run  ahead 
of  our  power  to  analyze  their  grounds.  A  child,  ignorant 
of  the  axiom  that  two  things  equal  to  the  same  are  equal  to 
each  other,  applies  it  nevertheless  in  his  concrete  judgments 
unerringly.  A  boor  will  use  the  dictum  de  omni  et  nullo  who 
is  unable  to  understand  it  in  abstract  terms. 

"  We  seldom  consciously  think  how  our  house  is  painted,  what  the 
shade  of  it  is,^hat  the  pattern  of  our  furniture  is,  or  whether  the  door 
opens  to  thn^^^t  or  left,  or  out  or  in.  But  how  quickly  should  we 
notice  a  chai^^B  any  of  these  things  !  Think  of  the  door  you  have 
most  often  opSR,  and  tell,  if  you  can,  whether  it  opens  to  the  right  or 
left,  out  or  in.  Yet  when  you  open  the  door  you  never  put  the  hand 
on  the  wrong  side  to  find  the  latch,  nor  try  to  push  it  when  it  opens 
with  a  pull.  .  .  .  What  is  the  precise  characteristic  in  your  friend's  step 
that  enables  you  to  recognize  it  when  he  is  coming  ?  Did  you  ever  con 
sciously  think  the  idea,  '  if  I  run  into  a  solid  piece  of  matter  I  shall  get 
hurt,  or  be  hindered  in  my  progress '  ?  and  do  you  avoid  running  into 
obstacles  because  you  ever  distinctly  conceived,  or  consciously  acquired 
and  thought,  that  idea?"* 

Most  of  our  knowledge  is  at  all  times  potential.  We  act 
in  accordance  with  the  whole  drift  of  what  we  have  learned, 
but  few  items  rise  into  consciousness  at  the  time.  Many 
of  them,  however,  we  may  recall  at  will.  All  this  co 
operation  of  unrealized  principles  and  facts,  of  potential 
knowledge,  with  our  actual  thought  is  quite  inexplicable 
unless  we  suppose  the  perpetual  existence  of  an  immense 
mass  of  ideas  in  an  unconscious  state,  all  of  them  exerting  a 
steady  pressure  and  influence  upon  our  conscious  thinking, 
and  many  of  them  in  such  continuity  with  it  as  ever  and 
anon  to  become  conscious  themselves. 

Reply.  No  such  mass  of  ideas  is  supposable.  .But  there 
are  all  kinds  of  short-cuts  in  the  brain ;  and  processes  not 
aroused  strongly  enough  to  give  any  '  idea '  distinct  enough 
to  be  a  premise,  may,  nevertheless,  help  to  determine  just 
that  resultant  process  of  whose  psychic  accompaniment  the 
said  idea  would  be  a  premise,  if  the  idea  existed  at  all.  A 
certain  overtone  may  be  a  feature  of  my  friend's  voice,  and 

*  J.  E.  Maude:  'The  Unconscious  in  Education,' in  'Education'  vol 
L  p.  401  (1882). 


168  PSYCHOLOGY. 

may  conspire  with  the  other  tones  thereof  to  arouse  in  my 
brain  the  process  which  suggests  to  my  consciousness  his 
name.  And  yet  I  may  be  ignorant  of  the  overtone  per  se, 
and  unable,  even  when  he  speaks,  to  tell  whether  it  be  there 
or  no.  It  leads  me  to  the  idea  of  the  name  ;  but  it  pro 
duces  in  me  no  such  cerebral  process  as  that  to  which  the 
'  idea  of  the  overtone  would  correspond.  And  similarly  of  our 
learning.  Each  subject  we  learn  leaves  behind  it  a  modifi 
cation  of  the  brain,  which  makes  it  impossible  for  the  latter 
to  react  upon  things  just  as  it  did  before  ;  an^the  result  of 
the  difference  may  be  a  tendency  to  act,  thou^^ith  no  idea, 
much  as  we  should  if  we  were  consciously  WRing  about 
the  subject.  The  becoming  conscious  of  tli^Tatter  at  will 
is  equally  readily  explained  as  a  result  of  the  brain-modifi 
cation.  This,  as  Wundt  phrases  it,  is  a  '  predisposition '  to 
bring  forth  the  conscious  idea  of  the  original  subject,  a  pre 
disposition  which  other  stimuli  and  brain-processes  may 
convert  into  an  actual  result.  But  such  a  predisposition  is 
no  'unconscious  idea;'  it  is  only  a  particular  collocation  of 
\/  the  molecules  in  certain  tracts  of  the  brain. 

Eighth  Proof.  Instincts,  as  pursuits  of  ends  by  appro 
priate  means,  are  manifestations  of  intelligence  ;  but  as  the 
ends  are  not  foreseen,  the  intelligence  must  be  unconscious. 

Reply.  Chapter  XXIV  will  show  that  all  the  phenomena 
of  instinct  are  explicable  as  actions  of  the  nervous  system, 
mechanically  discharged  by  stimuli  to  the  senses. 

Ninth  Proof.  In  sense-perception  we  have  results  in 
abundance,  which  can  only  be  explained  as  conclusions 
drawn  by  a  process  of  unconscious  inference  from  data 
given  to  sense.  A  small  human  image  on  the  retina  is 
referred,  not  to  a  pygmy,  but  to  a  distant  man  of  normal 
size.  A  certain  gray  patch  is  inferred  to  be  a  white  object 
seen  in  a  dim  light.  Often  the  inference  leads  us  astray : 
e.g.,  pale  gray  against  pale  green  looks  red,  because  we 
take  a  wrong  premise  to  argue  from.  We  think  a  green 
film  is  spread  over  everything;  and  knowing  that  under 
such  a  film  a  red  thing  would  look  gray,  we  wrongly  infer 
from  the  gray  appearance  that  a  red  thing  must  be  there. 
Our  study  of  space-perception  in  Chapter  XYIII  will  give 
abundant  additional  examples  both  of  the  truthful  andilhi' 


TEE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  169 

sory  percepts  which  have  been  explained  to  result  from 
unconscious  logic  operations. 

Reply.  That  Chapter  will  also  in  many  cases  refute 
this  explanation.  Color-  and  light-contrast  are  certainly 
purely  sensational  affairs,  in  which  inference  plays  no  part. 
This  has  been  satisfactorily  proved  by  Hering,*  and  shall 
be  treated  of  again  in  Chapter  XVII.  Our  rapid  judg 
ments  of  size,  shape,  distance,  and  the  like,  are  best  ex-  \  / 
plained  as  processes  ^  i  simple  cerebral  association.  Cer 
tain  sense-impressions  directly  stimulate  brain-tracts,  of 
whose  activity  ready-made  conscious  percepts  are  the 
immediate  psychic  counterparts.  They  do  this  by  a  mech 
anism  either  connate  or  acquired  by  habit.  It  is  to  be 
remarked  that  Wundt  and  Helmholtz,  who  in  their  earlier 
writings  did  more  than  any  one  to  give  vogue  to  the  notion 
that  unconscious  inference  is  a  vital  factor  in  sense-percep 
tion,  have  seen  fit  on  later  occasions  to  modify  their  views 
and  to  admit  that  results  like  those  of  reasoning  may  accrue 
without  any  actual  reasoning  process  unconsciously  taking 
place. f  Maybe  the  excessive  and  riotous  applications  made 
by  Hartmann  of  their  principle  have  led  them  to  this 
change.  It  would  be  natural  to  feel  towards  him  as  the 
sailor  in  the  story  felt  towards  the  horse  who  got  his  foot 
into  the  stirrup, — "  If  you're  going  to  get  on,  I  must  get  off."  V 

Hartmann  fairly  boxes  the  compass  of  the  universe  with 
the  principle  of  unconscious  thought.  For  him  there  is  no 
namable  thing  that  does  not  exemplify  it.  But  his  logic 
is  so  lax  and  his  failure  to  consider  the  most  obvious  alter 
natives  so  complete  that  it  would,  on  the  whole,  be  a 
waste  of  time  to  look  at  his  arguments  in  detail.  The  same 
is  true  of  Schopenhauer,  in  whom  the  mythology  reaches 
its  climax.  The  visual  perception,  for  example,  of  an 
object  in  space  results,  according  to  him,  from  the  intellect 
performing  the  following  operations,  all  unconscious.  First, 
it  apprehends  the  inverted  retinal  image  and  turns  it  right 
side  up,  constructing  flat  space  as  a  preliminary  operation  ; 

*  Zur  Lehre  vom  Lichtsiune  (1878). 

f  Cf.  Wundt:  Ueber  den  Einfiuss  dcr  Philosoplrie,  etc.  — Antritlsrede 
11876),  pp.  10-11;— Heliiiholt/:  Die  Thatsacheu  in  der  Walnuelmmug, 
1879),  p.  27. 


170  PSYCHOLOGY. 

then  it  computes  from  the  angle  of  convergence  of  the  eye 
balls  that  the  two  retinal  images  must  be  the  projection  of 
but  a  single  object;  thirdly,  it  constructs  the  third  dimen 
sion  and  sees  this  object  solid;  fourthly,  it  assigns  its  dis 
tance;  and  fifthly,  in  each  and  all  of  these  operations  it  gets 
the  objective  character  of  what  it  '  constructs '  by  uncon 
sciously  inferring  it  as  the  only  possible  cause  of  some  sen 
sation  which  it  unconsciously  feels.*  Comment  on  this 
seems  hardly  called  for.  It  is,  as  I  said,  pure  mythology. 

None  of  these  facts,  then,  appealed  to  so  confidently  in 
proof  of  the  existence  of  ideas  in  an  unconscious  state, 
prove  anything  of  the  sort.  They  prove  either  that  con 
scious  ideas  were  present  which  the  next  instant  were 
forgotten  ;  or  they  prove  that  certain  results,  similar  to 
results  of  reasoning,  may  bo  wrought  out  by  rapid  brain- 
processes  to  which  no  ideation  seems  attached.  But  there 
is  one  more  argument  to  be  alleged,  less  obviously  insuffi 
cient  than  those  which  we  have  reviewed,  and  demanding 
a  new  sort  of  reply. 

Tenth  Proof.  There  is  a  great  class  of  experiences  in 
our  mental  life  which  may  be  described  as  discoveries  that 
a  subjective  condition  which  we  have  been  having  is  really 
something  different  from  what  we  had  supposed.  We  sud 
denly  find  ourselves  bored  by  a  thing  which  we  thought  we 
were  enjoying  well  enough  ;  or  in  love  with  a  person  whom 
we  imagined  we  only  liked.  Or  else  we  deliberately  ana 
lyze  our  motives,  and  find  that  at  bottom  they  contain 
jealousies  and  cupidities  which  we  little  suspected  to  be 
there.  Oar  feelings  towards  people  are  perfect  wells  of 
motivation,  unconscious  of  itself,  which  introspection  brings 
to  light.  And  our  sensations  likewise  :  we  constantly  dis 
cover  new  elements  in  sensations  which  we  have  been  in 
the  habit  of  receiving  all  our  days,  elements,  too,  which 
have  been  there  from  the  first,  since  otherwise  we  should 
have  been  unable  to  distinguish  the  sensations  containing 
them  from  others  nearly  allied.  The  elements  must  exist, 
for  we  use  them  to  discriminate  by  ;  but  they  must  exist  in 

*  Cf.    Satz  vom  Grunde,  pp.  59-65.     Compare  also  F.  Zolluer's  Natui 
der  Kometen,  pp.  342  ff..  ami  425 


THE  MIND-STUFF   THEORY.  171 

an  unconscious  state,  since  we  so  completely  fail  to  single 
them  out.*  The  books  of  the  analytic  school  of  psychol 
ogy  abound  in  examples  of  the  kind.  Who  knows  the 
countless  associations  that  mingle  with  his  each  and  every 
thought?  Who  can  pick  apart  all  the  nameless  i'eelings 
that  stream  in  at  every  moment  from  his  various  internal 
organs,  muscles,  heart,  glands,  lungs,  etc.,  and  compose  in 
their  totality  his  sense  of  bodily  life  ?  Who  is  aware  of  the 
part  played  by  feelings  of  innervation  and  suggestions  of 
possible  muscular  exertion  in  all  his  judgments  of  distance, 
shape,  and  size  ?  Consider,  too,  the  difference  between  a 
sensation  which  we  simply  have  and  one  which  we  attend  to. 
Attention  gives  results  that  seem  like  fresh  creations ;  and 
yet  the  feelings  and  elements  of  feeling  which  it  reveals 
must  have  been  already  there — in  an  unconscious  state. 
We  all  know  practically  the  difference  between  the  so-called 
sonant  and  the  so-called  surd  consonants,  between  D,  B,  Z, 
G,  V,  and  T,  P,  S,  K,  F,  respectively.  But  comparatively  few 
persons  know  the  difference  theoretically,  until  their  atten 
tion  has  been  called  to  what  it  is,  when  they  perceive  it 
readily  enough.  The  sonants  are  nothing  but  the  surds 
plus  a  certain  element,  which  is  alike  in  all,  superadded. 
That  element  is  the  laryngeal  sound  with  which  they  are 
uttered,  surds  having  no  such  accompaniment.  When  we 
hear  the  sonant  letter,  both  its  component  elements  must 
really  be  in  our  mind ;  but  we  remain  unconscious  of  what 
they  rerlly  are,  and  mistake  the  letter  for  a  simple  quality 
of  sound  until  an  effort  of  attention  teaches  us  its  two  com 
ponents.  There  exist  a  host  of  sensations  which  most  men 
pass  through  life  and  never  attend  to,  and  consequently 
have  only  in  an  unconscious  way.  The  feelings  of  opening 
and  closing  the  glottis,  of  making  tense  the  tympanic  mem 
brane,  of  accommodating  for  near  vision,  of  intercepting  the 
passage  from  the  nostrils  to  the  throat,  are  instances  of 
what  I  mean.  Every  one  gets  these  feelings  many  times  an 
hour ;  but  few  readers,  probably,  are  conscious  of  exactly 
^hat  sensations  are  meant  by  the  names  I  have  just  used. 
All  these  facts,  and  an  enormous  number  more,  seem  to 

*  Cf.    the  statements  from   Helmholtz  to  be   found   later  iu   Chapter 
XIII. 


172  PSYCHOLOGY. 

prove  conclusively  that,  in  addition  to  the  fully  conscious 
way  in  which  an  idea  may  exist  in  the  mind,  there  is  also 
an  unconscious  way ;  that  it  is  unquestionably  the  same 
identical  idea  which  exists  in  these  two  ways ;  and  that 
therefore  any  arguments  against  the  mind-stuff  theory, 
based  on  the  notion  that  esse  in  our  mental  life  is  sentiri, 
and  that  an  idea  must  consciously  be  felt  as  what  it  is,  fall 
to  the  ground. 

Objection.  These  reasonings  are  one  tissue  of  confusion. 
Two  states  of  mind  which  refer  to  the  same  external  reality, 
or  two  states  of  mind  the  later  one  of  which  refers  to  the 
earlier,  are  described  as  the  same  state  of  mind,  or  '  idea,' 
published  as  it  were  in  two  editions ;  and  then  whatever 
qualities  of  the  second  edition  are  found  openly  lacking  in 
the  first  are  explained  as  having  really  been  there,  only  in 
an  *  unconscious'  way.  It  would  be  difficult  to  believe  that 
intelligent  men  could  be  guilty  of  so  patent  a  fallacy,  were 
not  the  history  of  psychology  there  to  give  the  proof.  The 
psychological  stock-in-trade  of  some  authors  is  the  belief 
that  two  thoughts  about  one  thing  are  virtually  the  same 
thought,  and  that  this  same  thought  may  in  subsequent 
reflections  become  more  and  more  conscious  of  what  it  really 
was  all  along  from  the  first.  But  once  make  the  distinc 
tion  between  simply  having  an  idea  at  the  moment  of  its  pres 
ence  and  subsequently  knowing  all  sorts  of  things  about  it ; 
make  moreover  that  between  a  state  of  mind  itself,  taken 
as  a  subjective  fact,  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  objective 
thing  it  knows,  on  the  other,  and  one  has  no  difficulty  in 
escaping  from  the  labyrinth. 

Take  the  latter  distinction  first :  Immediately  all  the 
arguments  based  on  sensations  and  the  new  features  in 
them  which  attention  brings  to  light  fall  to  the  ground. 
The  sensations  of  the  B  and  the  V  when  we  attend  to  these 
sounds  and  analyze  out  the  laryngeal  contribution  which 
makes  them  differ  from  P  and  F  respectively,  are  different 
sensations  from  those  of  the  B  and  the  V  taken  in  a  simple 
way.  They  stand,  it  is  true,  for  the  same  letters,  and  thus 
mean  the  same  outer  realities;  but  they  are  different  mental 
affections,  and  certainly  depend  on  widely  different  processes 
of  cerebral  activity.  It  is  unbelievable  that  two  mentaJ 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  173 

states  so  different  as  the  passive  reception  of  a  sound  as  a 
whole,  and  the  analysis  of  that  whole  into  distinct  ingre 
dients  by  voluntary  attention,  should  be  due  to  processes 
at  all  similar.  And  the  subjective  difference  does  not  con 
sist  in  that  the  first-named  state  is  the  second  in  an  '  un 
conscious  '  form.  It  is  an  absolute  psychic  difference,  even 
greater  than  that  between  the  stages  to  which  two  different 
surds  will  give  rise.  The  same  is  true  of  the  other  sensa 
tions  chosen  as  examples.  The  man  who  learns  for  the 
first  time  how  the  closure  of  his  glottis  feels,  experiences  in 
this  discovery  an  absolutely  new  psychic  modification,  the 
like  of  which  he  never  had  before.  He  had  another  feeling 
before,  a  feeling  incessantly  rerewed,  and  of  which  the  same 
glottis  was  the  organic  starting  _,  oint ;  but  that  was  not  the 
later  feeling  in  an  '  unconscious  state  ;  it  was  a  feeling  sui 
generis  altogether,  although  it  took  cognizance  of  the  same 
bodily  part,  the  glottis.  "We  shall  see,  hereafter,  that  the 
same  reality  can  be  cognized  by  an  endless  number  of 
psychic  states,  which  may  differ  toto  coelo  among  themselves, 
without  ceasing  on  that  account  to  refer  to  the  reality  in 
question.  Each  of  them  is  a  conscious  fact :  none  of  them 
has  any  mode  of  being  whatever  except  a  certain  way  of 
being  felt  at  the  moment  of  being  present.  It  is  simply 
unintelligible  and  fantastical  to  say,  because  they  point  to 
the  same  outer  reality,  that  they  must  therefore  be  so  many 
editions  of  the  same  '  idea/  now  in  a  conscious  and  now  in 
an  'unconscious'  phase.  There  is  only  one  'phase'  in 
which  an  idea  can  be,  and  that  is  a  fully  conscious  condi 
tion.  If  it  is  not  in  that  condition,  then  it  is  not  at  all. 
Something  else  is,  in  its  place.  The  something  else  may  be 
a  merely  physical  brain-process,  or  it  may  be  another  con- 
scious  idea.  Either  of  these  things  may  perform  much  tha 
same  function  as  the  first  idea,  refer  to  the  same  object, 
and  roughly  stand  in  the  same  relations  to  the  upshot  of 
our  thought.  But  that  is  no  reason  why  wo  should  throw 
away  the  logical  principle  of  identity  in  psychology,  and 
say  that,  however  it  may  fare  in  the  outer  world,  the  mind 
at  any  rate  is  a  place  in  which  a  thing  can  be  all  kinds  of 
other  things  without  ceasing  to  be  itself  as  well. 

Now  take  the  other  cases  alleged,  and  the  other  distinc 


174  PSYCHOLOGY. 

tion,  that  namely  between  having  a  mental  state  and  know 
ing  all  about  it.  The  truth  is  here  even  simpler  to  unravel. 
When  I  decide  that  I  have,  without  knowing  it,  been  for 
several  weeks  in  love,  I  am  simply  giving  a  name  to  a  state 
which  previously  /  have  not  named,  but  which  was  fully  con 
scious  ;  which  had  no  residual  mode  of  being  except  the 
manner  in  which  it  was  conscious  ;  and  which,  though  it  was 
a  feeling  towards  the  same  person  for  whom  I  now  have  a 
much  more  inflamed  feeling,  and  though  it  continuously  led 
into  the  latter,  and  is  similar  enough  to  be  called  by  the 
same  name,  is  yet  in  no  sense  identical  with  the  latter,  and 
least  of  all  in  an  *  unconscious '  way.  Again,  the  feelings  from 
our  viscera  and  other  dimly-felt  organs,  the  feelings  of 
innervation  (if  such  there  ?e),  and  those  of  muscular  exer 
tion  which,  in  our  spatial  judgments,  are  supposed  uncon 
sciously  to  determine  what  we  shall  perceive,  are  just  exactly 
what  we  feel  them,  perfectly  determinate  conscious  states, 
not  vague  editions  of  other  conscious  states.  They  may  be 
faint  and  weak  ;  they  may  be  very  vague  cognizers  of  the 
same  realities  which  other  conscious  states  cognize  and  name 
exactly ;  they  may  be  unconscious  of  much  in  the  reality 
which  the  other  states  are  conscious  of.  But  that  does  not 
make  them  in  themselves  a  whit  dim  or  vague  or  uncon 
scious.  They  are  eternally  as  they  feel  when  they  exist, 
and  can,  neither  actually  nor  potentially,  be  identified  with 
anything  else  than  their  own  faint  selves.  A  faint  feeling 
may  be  looked  back  upon  and  classified  and  understood  iu 
its  relations  to  what  went  before  or  after  it  in  the  stream  of 
thought.  But  it,  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  later  state  of 
mind  which  knows  all  these  things  about  it,  on  the  other, 
are  surely  not  two  conditions,  one  conscious  and  the  other 
*  unconscious,'  of  the  same  identical  psychic  fact.  It  is  the 
destiny  of  thought  thai,  on  the  whole,  our  early  ideas  are 
superseded  by  later  onos,  giving  fuller  accounts  of  the  same 
realities.  But  none  the  less  do  the  earlier  and  the  later 
ideas  preserve  their  own  several  substantive  identities  as  so 
many  several  successive  states  of  mind.  To  believe  the  con 
trary  would  make  any  definite  science  of  psychology  im 
possible.  The  only  identity  to  be  found  among  our  suc 
cessive  ideas  is  their  similarity  of  cognitive  or  represents 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  175 

fcive  function  as  dealing  with  the  same  objects.  Identity  oi 
being,  there  is  none  ;  and  I  believe  that  throughout  the  rest 
of  this  volume  the  reader  will  reap  the  advantages  of  the 
simpler  way  of  formulating  the  facts  which  is  here  begun.* 

So  we  seem  not  only  to  have  ascertained  the  unintelli- 
gibility  of  the  notion  that  a  mental  fact  can  be  two  things 
at  once,  and  that  what  seems  like  one  feeling,  of  blueness 
for  example,  or  of  hatred,  may  really  and  '  unconsciously ' 
be  ten  thousand  elementary  feelings  which  do  not  resem 
ble  blueness  or  hatred  at  all,  but  we  find  that  we  can 
express  all  the  observed  facts  in  other  ways.  The  mind- 

*  The  text  was  written  before  Professor  Lipps's  Grundtatsachen  des  See- 
lenlebeus  (1883)  came  into  my  hands.  In  Chapter  III  of  that  book  the 
notion  of  unconscious  thought  is  subjected  to  the  clearest  and  most  search 
ing  criticism  which  it  has  yet  received,  Some  passages  are  so  similar  to 
what  I  have  myself  written  that  I  must  quote  them  in  a  note.  After 
proving  that  dimness  and  clearness,  incompleteness  and  completeness  do 
not  pertain  to  a  state  of  mind  as  such — since  every  state  of  mind  must  be 
txactly  what  it  is,  and  nothing  else — but  only  pertain  to  the  way  in  which 
states  of  mind  stand  for  objects,  which  they  more  or  less  dimly,  more 
or  less  clearly,  represent ;  Lipps  takes  the  case  of  those  sensations  which 
attention  is  said  to  make  more  clear.  "I  perceive  an  object,"  he  says, 
"  now  in  clear  daylight,  and  again  at  night.  Call  the  content  of  the  day- 
perception  a,  and  that  of  the  evening-perception  a1.  There  will  probably 
be  a  considerable  difference  between  a  and  a1.  The  colors  of  a  will  be 
varied  and  intense,  and  will  be  sharply  bounded  by  each  other ;  those  of 
a1  will  be  less  luminous,  and  less  strongly  contrasted,  and  will  approach 
a  common  gray  or  brown,  and  merge  more  into  each  other.  Both  percepts, 
however,  as  such,  are  completely  determinate  and  distinct  from  all  others. 
The  colors  of  a1  appear  before  my  eye  neither  more  nor  less  decidedly  dark 
and  blurred  than  the  colors  of  a  appear  bright  and  sharply  bounded.  But 
now  I  know,  or  believe  I  know,  that  one  and  the  same  real  Object  A  corre 
sponds  to  both  a  and  a}.  I  am  convinced,  moreover,  that  a  represents  A 
better  than  does  a1.  Instead,  however,  of  giving  to  my  conviction  this,  its 
only  correct,  expression,  and  keeping  the  content  of  my  consciousness  and 
the  real  object,  the  representation  and  what  it  means,  distinct  from  each 
other,  I  substitute  the  real  object  for  the  content  of  the  consciousness, 
and  talk  of  the  experience  as  if  it  consisted  in  one  and  the  same  object 
(namely,  the  surreptitiously  introduced  real  one),  constituting  twice  over 
the  content  of  my  consciousness,  once  in  a  clear  and  distinct,  the  other 
time  in  an  obscure  and  vague  fashion.  I  talk  now  of  a  distiucter  and  of  a 
less  distinct  consciousness  of  A,  whereas  I  am  only  justified  in  talking  of 
two  consciousnesses,  a  and  a},  equally  distinct  in  se,  but  to  which  the  sup 
posed  external  obiect  A  corresponds  with  different  degrees  of  distinctness." 
(P.  38-9  ) 


176  PSYCHOLOGY. 

stuff  theory,  however,  though  scotched,  is,  we  may  be  sure, 
not  killed.  If  we  ascribe  consciousness  to  unicellular 
animalcules,  then  single  cells  can  have  it,  and  analogy 
should  make  us  ascribe  it  to  the  several  cells  cf  the  brain, 
each  individually  taken.  And  what  a  convenience  would  it 
not  be  for  the  psychologist  if,  by  the  adding  together  of  vari 
ous  doses  of  this  separate-cell-consciousness,  he  could  treat 
thought  as  a  kind  of  stuff  or  material,  to  be  measured  out 
in  great  or  small  amount,  increased  and  subtracted  from, 
and  baled  about  at  will !  He  feels  an  imperious  craving 
to  be  allowed  to  construct  synthetically  the  successive 
mental  states  which  he  describes.  The  mind-stuff  theory 
so  easily  admits  of  the  construction  being  made,  that  it 
seems  certain  that  '  man's  unconquerable  mind '  will  devote 
much  future  pertinacity  and  ingenuity  to  setting  it  on  its 
legs  again  and  getting  it  into  some  sort  of  plausible  work 
ing-order.  I  will  therefore  conclude  the  chapter  with  some 
consideration  of  the  remaining  difficulties  which  beset  the 
matter  as  it  at  present  stands. 

DIFFICULTY  OF  STATING  THE  CONNECTION  BETWEEN  MIND 
AND  BRAIN. 

It  will  be  remembered  that  in  our  criticism  of  the  theory 
of  the  integration  of  successive  conscious  units  into  a  feel 
ing  of  musical  pitch,  we  decided  that  whatever  integration 
there  was  was  that  of  the  air-pulses  into  a  simpler  and  sim 
pler  sort  of  physical  effect,  as  the  propagations  of  material 
change  got  higher  and  higher  in  the  nervous  system.  At 
last,  we  said  (p.  23),  there  results  some  simple  and  massive 
process  in  the  auditory  centres  of  the  hemispherical  cortex, 
to  which,  as  a  ivhole,  the  feeling  of  musical  pitch  directly 
corresponds.  Already,  in  discussing  the  localization  of 
functions  in  the  brain,  I  had  said  (pp.  158-9)  that  conscious 
ness  accompanies  the  stream  of  innervation  through  that 
organ  and  varies  in  quality  with  the  character  of  the  cur 
rents,  being  mainly  of  things  seen  if  the  occipital  lobes  are 
much  involved,  of  things  heard  if  the  action  is  focalized  in 
the  temporal  lobes,  etc.,  etc.;  and  I  had  added  that  a  vague 
formula  like  this  was  as  much  as  one  could  safely  venture 
on  in  the  actual  state  of  physiology.  The  facts  of  mental 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  177 

deafness  and  blindness,  of  auditory  and  optical  aphasia, 
show  us  that  the  whole  brain  must  act  together  if  certain 
thoughts  are  to  occur.  The  consciousness,  which  is  itself 
an  integral  thing  not  made  of  parts,  '  corresponds '  to  the 
entire  activity  of  the  brain,  whatever  that  may  be,  at  the 
moment.  This  is  a  way  of  expressing  the  relation  of  mind 
and  brain  from  which  I  shall  not  depart  during  the  re 
mainder  of  the  book,  because  it  expresses  the  bare 
phenomenal  fact  with  no  hypothesis,  and  is  exposed  to  no 
such  logical  objections  as  we  have  found  to  cling  to  the 
theory  of  ideas  in  combination. 

Nevertheless,  this  formula  which  is  so  unobjectionable 
if  taken  vaguely,  positivistically,  or  scientifically,  as  a 
mere  empirical  law  of  concomitance  between  our  thoughts 
and  our  brain,  tumbles  to  pieces  entirely  if  we  assume 
to  represent  anything  more  intimate  or  ultimate  by  it. 
The  ultimate  of  ultimate  problems,  of  course,  in  the 
study  of  the  relations  of  thought  and  brain,  is  to  under 
stand  why  and  how  such  disparate  things  are  connected 
at  all.  But  before  that  problem  is  solved  (if  it  ever  is 
solved)  there  is  a  less  ultimate  problem  which  must  first 
be  settled.  Before  the  connection  of  thought  and  brain 
can  be  explained,  it  must  at  least  be  stated  in  an  elementary 
form  ;  and  there  are  great  difficulties  about  so  stating  it. 
To  state  it  in  elementary  form  one  must  reduce  it  to  its 
lowest  terms  and  know  which  mental  fact  and  which  cerebral 
fact  are,  so  to  speak,  in  immediate  juxtaposition.  We  must 
find  the  minimal  mental  fact  whose  being  reposes  directly 
on  a  brain-fact ;  and  we  must  similarly  find  the  minimal 
brain-event  which  will  have  a  mental  counterpart  at  all. 
Between  the  mental  and  the  physical  minima  thus  found 
there  will  be  an  immediate  relation,  the  expression  of 
which,  if  we  had  it,  would  be  the  elementary  psycho-pnysic 
law. 

Our  own  formula  escapes  the  unintelligibility  of  psychic 
atoms  by  taking  t/ie  entire  thought  (even  of  a  complex 
object)  as  the  minimum  with  which  it  deals  on  the  mental 
side.  But  in  taking  the  entire  brain-process  as  its  mini 
mal  fact  on  the  material  side  it  confronts  other  difficulties 
almost  as  bad- 


178  PSYCHOLOGY. 

In  the  first  place,  it  ignores  analogies  on  which  certain 
critics  will  insist,  those,  namely,  between  the  composition 
of  the  total  brain-process  and  that  of  the  object  of  the 
thought.  The  total  brain-process  is  composed  of  parts, 
of  simultaneous  processes  in  the  seeing,  the  hearing,  the 
feeling,  and  other  centres.  The  object  thought  of  is  also 
composed  of  parts,  some  of  which  are  seen,  others  heard, 
others  perceived  by  touch  and  muscular  manipulation. 
"  How  then,"  these  critics  will  say,  "  should  the  thought 
not  itself  be  composed  of  parts,  each  the  counterpart 
of  a  part  of  the  object  and  of  a  part  of  the  brain-pro 
cess?"  So  natural  is  this  way  of  looking  at  the  matter 
that  it  has  given  rise  to  what  is  on  the  whole  the  most 
flourishing  of  all  psychological  systems — that  of  the  Lock- 
ian  school  of  associated  ideas — of  which  school  the  mind- 
stuff  theory  is  nothing  but  the  last  and  subtlest  offshoot. 

The  second  difficulty  is  deeper  still.  The  '  entire  brain- 
process  '  is  not  a  physical  fact  at  all.  It  is  the  appearance  to 
an  onlooking  mind  of  a  multitude  of  physical  facts.  '  En 
tire  brain '  is  nothing  but  our  name  for  the  way  in  which  a 
million  of  molecules  arranged  in  certain  positions  may 
affect  our  sense.  On  the  principles  of  the  corpuscular  or 
mechanical  philosophy,  the  only  realities  are  the  separate 
molecules,  or  at  most  the  cells.  Their  aggregation  into 
a  '  brain '  is  a  fiction  of  popular  speech.  Such  a  fiction 
cannot  serve  as  the  objectively  real  counterpart  to  any 
psychic  state  whatever.  Only  a  genuinely  physical  fact  can 
so  serve.  But  the  molecular  fact  is  the  only  genuine  physi 
cal  fact — whereupon  we  seem,  if  we  are  to  have  an  elemen 
tary  psycho-physic  law  at  all,  thrust  right  back  upon  some 
thing  like  the  mind-stuff  theory,  lor  the  molecular  fact, 
being  an  element  of  the  « brain,'  would  seem  naturally  to 
correspond,  not  to  the  total  thoughts,  but  to  elements  in 
the  thought. 

What  shall  we  do?  Many  would  find  relief  at  this 
point  in  celebrating  the  mystery  of  the  Unknowable  and  the 
*  awe '  which  we  should  feel  at  having  such  a  principle  to 
take  final  charge  of  our  perplexities.  Others  would  rejoice 
that  the  finite  and  separatist  view  of  things  with  which  we 
started  had  at  last  developed  its  contradictions,  and  was 


THE  MIND-STUFF  THEORY.  179 

about  to  lead  us  dialectically  upwards  to  some  'higher 
synthesis '  in  which  inconsistencies  cease  from  troubling 
and  logic  is  at  rest.  It  may  be  a  constitutional  infirmity, 
but  I  can  take  no  comfort  in  such  devices  for  making  a 
luxury  of  intellectual  defeat.  They  are  but  spiritual 
chloroform.  Better  live  on  the  ragged  edge,  better  gnaw 
the  file  forever ! 

THE  MATERIAL-MONAD  THEORY. 

The  most  rational  thing  to  do  is  to  suspect  that  there 
may  be  a  third  possibility,  an  alternative  supposition  which 
we  have  not  considered.  Now  there  is  an  alternative  sup* 
position — a  supposition  moreover  which  has  been  fre 
quently  made  in  the  history  of  philosophy,  and  which  is 
freer  from  logical  objections  than  either  c£  the  views  w© 
have  ourselves  discussed.  It  may  be  called  the  theory  of 
polyzoism  or  multiple  monadism;  and  it  conceives  tho  matter 
thus : 

Every  brain-cell  has  its  own  individual  consciousness, 
which  no  other  cell  knows  anything  about,  all  individual 
consciousnesses  being  '  ejective  '  to  each  other.  There  is, 
however,  among  the  cells  one  central  or  pontifical  one  to 
which  our  consciousness  is  attached.  But  the  events  of  all  the 
other  cells  physically  influence  this  arch-cell ;  and  through 
producing  their  joint  effects  on  it,  these  other  cells  may  be 
said  to  'combine.'  The  arch-cell  is,  in  fact,  one  of  those 
'  external  media '  without  which  we  saw  that  no  fusion  or 
integration  of  a  number  of  things  can  occur.  The  physical 
modifications  of  the  arch-cell  thus  form  a  sequence  of 
results  in  the  production  whereof  every  other  cell  has  a 
share,  so  that,  as  one  might  say,  every  other  cell  is  repre 
sented  therein.  And  similarly,  the  conscious  correlates  to 
these  physical  modifications  form  a  sequence  of  thoughts 
or  feelings,  each  one  of  which  is,  as  to  its  substantive 
being,  an  integral  and  uncompounded  psychic  thing,  but 
each  one  of  which  may  (in  the  exercise  of  its  cognitive 
function)  be  aware  of  THINGS  many  and  complicated  in 
proportion  to  the  number  of  other  cells  that  have  helped 
to  modify  the  central  cell. 

Bv  a  conception  of  this  sort,  one  incurs  neither  of  the 


180  PSYCHOLOGY. 

internal  contradictions  which  we  found  to  beset  the  other 
two  theories.  One  has  no  unintelligible  self-combining  of 
psychic  units  to  account  for  on  the  one  hand ;  and  on  the 
other  hand,  one  need  not  treat  as  the  physical  counterpart 
of  the  stream  of  consciousness  under  observation,  a  '  total 
brain-activity '  which  is  non-existent  as  a  genuinely  physi 
cal  fact.  But,  to  offset  these  advantages,  one  has  physio 
logical  difficulties  and  improbabilities.  There  is  no  cell 
or  group  of  cells  in  the  brain  of  such  anatomical  or  func 
tional  pre-eminence  as  to  appear  to  be  the  keystone  or  centre 
of  gravity  of  the  whole  system.  And  even  if  there  were 
such  a  cell,  the  theory  of  multiple  monadism  would,  in 
strictness  of  thought,  have  no  right  to  stop  at  it  and  treat 
it  as  a  unit.  The  cell  is  no  more  a  unit,  materially  con 
sidered,  than  the  total  brain  is  a  unit.  It  is  a  compound  of 
molecules,  just  as  the  brain  is  a  compound  of  cells  and  fibres. 
And  the  molecules,  according  to  the  prevalent  physical  theo 
ries,  are  in  turn  compounds  of  atoms.  The  theory  in  ques 
tion,  therefore,  if  radically  carried  out,  must  set  up  for  its 
elementary  and  irreducible  psycho-physic  couple,  not  the 
cell  and  its  consciousness,  but  the  primordial  and  eternal 
atom  and  its  consciousness.  We  are  back  at  Leibnitzian 
monadism,  and  therewith  leave  physiology  behind  us  and 
dive  into  regions  inaccessible  to  experience  and  verification  ; 
and  our  doctrine,  although  not  self-contradictory,  becomes 
so  remote  and  unreal  as  to  be  almost  as  bad  as  if  it  were. 
Speculative  minds  alone  will  take  an  interest  in  it ;  and 
metaphysics,  not  psychology,  will  be  responsible  for  its 
career.  That  the  career  may  be  a  successful  one  must  be 
admitted  as  a  possibility — a  theory  which  Leibnitz,  Her- 
bart,  and  Lotze  have  taken  under  their  protection  must 
have  some  sort  of  a  destiny. 

THE  SOUL-THEORY. 

But  is  this  my  last  word?  By  no  means.  Many 
readers  have  certainly  been  saying  to  themselves  for  the 
last  few  pages  :  "  Why  on  earth  doesn't  the  poor  man  say 
the  Soul  and  have  done  with  it  ?  "  Other  readers,  of  anti- 
spiritualistic  training  and  prepossessions,  advanced  think 
ers,  or  popular  evolutionists,  will  perhaps  be  a  little  sur- 


THE  MIND- STUFF  THEORY.  181 

prised  to  find  this  much-despised  word  now  sprung  upon 
them  at  the  end  of  so  physiological  a  train  of  thought.  But 
the  plain  fact  is  that  all  the  arguments  for  a  '  pontifical  cell ' 
or  an  '  arch-monad '  are  also  arguments  for  that  well-known 
spiritual  agent  in  which  scholastic  psychology  and  com 
mon-sense  have  always  believed.  And  my  only  reason  for 
beating  the  bushes  so,  and  not  bringing  it  in  earlier  as  a 
possible  solution  of  our  difficulties,  has  been  that  by  this 
procedure  I  might  perhaps  force  some  of  these  materialistic 
minds  to  feel  the  more  strongly  the  logical  respectability  of 
the  spiritualistic  position.  The  fact  is  that  one  cannot 
atiord  to  despise  any  of  these  great  traditional  objects  of 
belief.  Whether  we  realize  it  or  not,  there  is  always  a  great 
drift  of  reasons,  positive  and  negative,  towing  us  in  their 
direction.  If  there  be  such  entities  as  Souls  in  the  universe, 
they  may  possibly  be  affected  by  the  manifold  occurrences 
that  go  on  in  the  nervous  centres.  To  the  state  of  the  en 
tire  brain  at  a  given  moment  they  may  respond  by  inward 
modifications  of  their  own.  These  changes  of  state  may  be 
pulses  of  consciousness,  cognitive  of  objects  few  or  many, 
simple  or  complex.  The  soul  would  be  thus  a  medium 
upon  which  (to  use  our  earlier  phraseology)  the  manifold 
brain-processes  combine  their  effects.  Not  needing  to  con 
sider  it  as  the  '  inner  aspect '  of  any  arch-molecule  or  brain- 
cell,  we  escape  that  physiological  improbability  ;  and  as  its 
pulses  of  consciousness  are  unitary  and  integral  affairs  from 
the  outset,  we  escape  the  absurdity  of  supposing  feelings 
which  exist  separately  and  then  '  fuse  together '  by  them 
selves.  The  separateness  is  in  the  brain-world,  on  this 
theory,  and  the  unity  in  the  soul-world ;  and  the  only 
trouble  that  remains  to  haunt  us  is  the  metaphysical  one  of 
understanding  how  one  sort  of  world  or  existent  thing  can 
affect  or  influence  another  at  all.  This  trouble,  however, 
since  it  also  exists  inside  of  both  worlds,  and  involves 
neither  physical  improbability  nor  logical  contradiction,  is 
relatively  small. 

I  confess,  therefore,  that  to  posit  a  soul  influenced  in 
some  mysterious  way  by  the  brain-states  and  responding  to 
them  by  conscious  affections  of  its  own,  seems  to  me  the 
line  of  least  logical  resistance,  so  far  as  we  yet  have  attained. 


182  PSYCHOLOGY. 

If  it  does  not  strictly  explain  anything,  it  is  at  any  rate 
less  positively  objectionable  fchan  either  mind-stuff  or  a 
material-monad  creed.  The  bare  PHENOMENON,  hoivever,  the 
IMMEDIATELY  KNOWN  thing  which  on  the  mental  side  is  in  appo 
sition  ivith  the  entire  brain-process  is  the  state  of  consciousness 
and  not  the  soul  itself.  Many  of  the  stanchest  believers  in 
the  soul  admit  that  we  knc  w  it  only  as  an  inference  from 
experiencing  its  states.  In  Chapter  X,  accordingly,  we  must 
return  to  its  consideration  again,  and  ask  ourselves  whether, 
after  all,  the  ascertainment  of  a  blank  unmediated  correspond 
ence,  term  for  term,  of  the  succession  of  states  of  consciousness 
with  the  succession  of  total  brain-processes,  be  not  the  simplest 
psycho-physic  formula,  and  the  last  word  of  a  psychology 
ivhich  contents  itself  ivith  verifiable  laivs,  and  seeks  only  to 
be  clear,  and  to  avoid  unsafe  hypotheses.  Such  a  mere  ad 
mission  of  the  empirical  parallelism  will  there  appear  the 
wisest  course.  By  keeping  to  it,  our  psychology  will  re 
main  positivistic  and  non-metaphysical ;  and  although  this 
is  certainly  only  a  provisional  halting-place,  and  things 
must  some  day  be  more  thoroughly  thought  out,  we  shall 
abide  there  in  this  book,  and  just  as  we  have  rejected  mind- 
dust,  we  shall  take  no  account  of  the  soul.  The  spiritualis 
tic  reader  may  nevertheless  believe  in  the  soul  if  he  will ; 
whilst  the  positivistic  one  who  wishes  to  give  a  tinge  of 
mystery  to  the  expression  of  his  positivism  can  continue  to 
say  that  nature  in  her  unfathomable  designs  has  mixed  us 
of  clay  and  flame,  of  brain  and  mind,  that  the  two  things 
hang  indubitably  together  and  determine  each  other's  being, 
but  how  or  why,  no  mortal  may  ever  know. 


CHAPTEB  VII. 

THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY 

WE  have  now  finished  the  physiological  preliminaries  of 
our  subject  and  must  in  the  remaining  chapters  study  the 
mental  states  themselves  whose  cerebral  conditions  and 
concomitants  we  have  been  considering  hitherto.  Beyond 
the  brain,  however,  there  is  an  outer  world  to  which  the 
brain-states  themselves  *  correspond.'  And  it  will  be  well, 
ere  we  advance  farther,  to  say  a  word  about  the  relation  of 
the  mind  to  this  larger  sphere  of  physical  fact. 

PSYCHOLOGY  IS  A   NATURAL  SCIENCE. 

That  is,  the  mind  which  the  psychologist  studies  is  the 
mind  of  distinct  individuals  inhabiting  definite  portions  of 
a  real  space  and  of  a  real  time.  With  any  other  sort  of 
mind,  absolute  Intelligence,  Mind  unattached  to  a  particular 
body,  or  Mind  not  subject  to  the  course  of  time,  the  psychol 
ogist  as  such  has  nothing  to  do.  *  Mind,'  in  his  mouth,  is 
only  a  class  name  for  minds.  Fortunate  will  it  be  if  his 
more  modest  inquiry  result  in  any  generalizations  which 
the  philosopher  devoted  to  absolute  Intelligence  as  such 
can  use. 

To  the  psychologist,  then,  the  minds  he  studies  are 
objects,  in  a  world  of  other  objects.  Even  when  he  intro- 
spectively  analyzes  his  own  mind,  and  tells  what  he  finds 
there,  he  talks  about  it  in  an  objective  way.  He  says,  for 
instance,  that  under  certain  circumstances  the  color  gray 
appears  to  him  green,  and  calls  the  appearance  an  illusion. 
This  implies  that  he  compares  two  objects,  a  real  color 
seen  under  certain  conditions,  and  a  mental  perception 
which  he  believes  to  represent  it,  and  that  he  declares  the 
relation  between  them  to  be  of  a  certain  kind.  In  making 
this  critical  judgment,  the  psychologist  stands  as  much  out 
side  of  the  perception  which  he  criticises  as  he  does  of  the 
color.  Both  are  his  objects.  And  if  this  is  true  of  him  when 

183 


184  PSYCHOLOGY. 

lie  reflects  on  liis  own  conscious  states,  how  much  truer  is  it 
when  he  treats  of  those  of  others  !  In  German  philosophy 
since  Kant  the  word  Urkenntnisstheorie,  criticism  of  the 
faculty  of  knowledge,  plays  a  great  part.  Now  the  psychol 
ogist  necessarily  becomes  such  an  Erkenntnisstheoretiker. 
But  the  knowledge  he  theorizes  about  is  not  the  bare 
function  of  knowledge  which  Kant  criticises — he  does  not 
inquire  into  the  possibility  of  knowledge  uberhaupt.  He 
assumes  it  to  be  possible,  he  does  not  doubt  its  presence 
in  himself  at  the  moment  he  speaks.  The  knowledge  he 
criticises  is  the  knowledge  of  particular  men  about  the 
particular  things  that  surround  them.  This  he  may,  upon 
occasion,  in  the  light  of  his  own  unquestioned  knowledge, 
pronounce  true  or  false,  and  trace  the  reasons  by  which  it 
has  become  one  or  the  other. 

It  is  highly  important  that  this  natural-science  point 
of  view  should  be  understood  at  the  outset.  Otherwise 
more  may  be  demanded  of  the  psychologist  than  he  ought 
to  be  expected  to  perform. 

A  diagram  will  exhibit  more  emphatically  what  the 
assumptions  of  Psychology  must  be  : 


1 

The 
Psychologist 

2 

The  Thought 
Studied 

3 

The  Thought's 
Object 

4 
The  Psycholo 
gist's  Reality 

These  four  squares  contain  the  irreducible  data  of 
psychology.  No.  1,  the  psychologist,  believes  Nos.  2,  3, 
and  4,  which  together  form  his  total  object,  to  be  realities, 
and  reports  them  and  their  mutual  relations  as  truly  as  he 
can  without  troubling  himself  with  the  puzzle  of  how  he 
can  report  them  at  all.  About  such  ultimate  puzzles  he  in 
the  main  need  trouble  himself  no  more  than  the  geometer, 
the  chemist,  or  the  botanist  do,  who  make  precisely  the 
same  assumptions  as  he.* 

Of  certain  fallacies  to  which  the  psychologist  is  exposed 
by  reason  of  his  peculiar  point  of  view — that  of  being  a 

*  On  the  relation  between  Pyschology  and  General  Philosophy,  see  G. 
C.  Robertson,  'Mind,'  vol.  vm.  p.  1,  and  J.  Ward,  $>id.  p.  153 ;  J.  Dewey, 
ibid.  vol.  ix.  p.  1. 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      185 

reporter  of  subjective  as  well  as  of  objective  facts,  we  must 
presently  speak.  But  not  until  we  have  considered  the 
methods  he  uses  for  ascertaining  what  the  facts  in  question 
are. 

THE    METHODS    OF   INVESTIGATION. 

Introspective  Observation  is  what  we  have  to  rely  on  first 
and  foremost  and  always.  The  word  introspection  need 
hardly  be  defined — it  means,  of  course,  the  looking  into  our 
own  minds  and  reporting  what  we  there  discover.  Every 
one,  agrees  that  we  there  discover  states  of  consciousness.  So 
far  as  I  know,  the  existence  of  such  states  has  never  been' 
doubted  by  any  critic,  however  sceptical  in  other  respects 
he  may  have  been.  That  we  have  cogitations  of  some  sort  is 
the  inconcussum  in  a  world  most  of  whose  other  facts  have 
at  some  time  tottered  in  the  breath  of  philosophic  doubt. 
All  people  unhesitatingly  believe  that  they  feel  themselves 
thinking,  and  that  they  distinguish  the  mental  state  as  an 
inward  activity  or  passion,  from  all  the  objects  with  which 
it  may  cognitively  deal.  /  regard  this  belief  as  the  most  }.; 
fundamental  of  all  the  postulates  of  Psychology,  and  shall  dis 
card  all  curious  inquiries  about  its  certainty  as  too  meta 
physical  for  the  scope  of  this  book. 

A  Question  of  Nomenclature.  We  ought  to  have  some 
general  term  by  which  to  designate  all  states  of  con 
sciousness  merely  as  such,  and  apart  from  their  par 
ticular  quality  or  cognitive  function.  Unfortunately  most 
of  the  terms  in  use  have  grave  objections.  '  Mental 
state,'  '  state  of  consciousness,'  '  conscious  modification,'  are 
cumbrous  and  have  no  kindred  verbs.  The  same  is  true 
of  'subjective  condition.'  'Feeling'  has  the  verb  'to  feel,' 
both  active  and  neuter,  and  such  derivatives  as  '  feelingly,' 
'felt,'  4'eltness,'  etc.,  which  make  it  extremely  convenient. 
But  on  the  other  hand  it  has  specific  meanings  as  well  as 
its  generic  one,  sometimes  standing  for  pleasure  and  pain, 
and  being  sometimes  a  synonym  of  '  sensation '  as  opposed 
to  thought ;  whereas  we  wish  a  term  to  cover  sensation  and 


186  PSYCHOLOGY. 

thought  indifferently.     Moreover,  '  feeling '  has  acquired  in 
the  hearts  of  platonizing  thinkers  a  very  opprobrious  set  of 
implications ;  and  since  one  of  the  great  obstacles  to  mutual 
understanding  in  philosophy  is  the  use  of  words  eulogisti- 
cally  and  disparagingly,  impartial  terms  ought  always,  if 
possible,  to  be  preferred.     The  word  psychosis  has  been 
proposed  by  Mr.  Huxley.     It  has  the  advantage  of  being 
correlative  to  neurosis  (the  name  applied  by  the  same  author 
to  the  corresponding  nerve-process),  and  is  moreover  tech 
nical  and  devoid  of  partial  implications.     But  it  has  no 
)/  verb  or  other  grammatical  form  allied  to  it.     The  expres 
sions  '  affection  of  the  soul,'  *  modification  of  the  ego,'  are 
clumsy,  like  'state  of  consciousness,'  and  they  implicitly 
assert  theories  which  it  is  not  well  to  embody  in  terminol 
ogy  before  they  have  been  openly  discussed  and  approved. 
'  '  Idea '   is  a  good  vague  neutral  word,  and  was  by  Locke 
employed  in  the  broadest  generic  way ;  but  notwithstanding 
his  authority  it  has  not  domesticated  itself  in  the  language 
so  as  to  cover  bodily  sensations,  and  it  moreover  has  no 
verb.     '  Thought '  would  be  by  far  the  best  word  to  use  if 
it  could  be  made  to  cover  sensations.     It  has  no  opprobri 
ous  connotation  such  as  '  feeling '  has,  and  it  immediately 
suggests  the  omnipresence  of  cognition  (or  reference  to  an 
'  object  other  than  the  mental  state  itself),  which  we  shall 
^soon  see  to  be  of  the  mental  life's  essence.     But  can  the 
'expression  'thought  of  a  toothache'  ever  suggest  to  the 
reader  the  actual  present  pain  itself  ?     It  is  hardly  possi 
ble  ;  and  we  thus  seem  about  to  be  forced  back  on  some 
pair  of  terms  like  Hume's  '  impression  and  idea,'  or  Ham 
ilton's  'presentation  and  representation,'  or  the  ordinary 
'  feeling  and  thought,'  if  we  wish  to  cover  the  whole  ground. 
In  this  quandary  we  can  make  no  definitive  choice,  but 
must,   according  to  the    convenience  of   the   context,  use 
sometimes  one,  sometimes  another  of  the  synonyms  that 
have   been   mentioned.      My   oivn  partiality   is  for  either 
FEELING  or  THOUGHT.    I  shall  probably  often  use  both  words 
in  a  wider  sense  than  usual,  and  alternately  startle  two 
classes  of  readers  by  their  unusual  sound ;  but  if  the  con 
nection  makes  it  clear  that  mental  states  at  large,  irrespec- 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      187 

tive  of  their  kind,  are  meant,  this  will  do  no  harm,  and  may 
even  do  some  good.* 

The  inaccuracy  of  introspective  observation  has  been  made 
a  subject  of  debate.  It  is  important  to  gain  some  fixed 
ideas  on  this  point  before  we  proceed. 

The  commonest  spiritualistic  opinion  is  that  the  Soul 
or  Subject  of  the  mental  life  is  a  metaphysical  entity,  inac 
cessible  to  direct  knowledge,  and  that  the  various  mental 
states  and  operations  of  which  we  reflectively  become 
aware  are  objects  of  an  inner  sense  which  does  not  lay  hold 
of  the  real  agent  in  itself,  any  more  than  sight  or  hear-' 
ing  gives  us  direct  knowledge  of  matter  in  itself.  From, 
this  point  of  view  introspection  is,  of  course,  incompetent 
to  lay  hold  of  anything  more  than  the  Soul's  phenomena. 
But  even  then  the  question  remains,  How  well  can  it  know 
the  phenomena  themselves  ? 

Some  authors  take  high  ground  here  and  claim  for  it  a 
sort  of  infallibility.  Thus  Ueberweg : 

"  When  a  mental  image,  as  such,  is  the  object  of  my  apprehension, 
there  is  no  meaning  in  seeking  to  distinguish  its  existence  in  my  con 
sciousness  (in  me)  from  its  existence  out  of  my  consciousness  (in  itself)  ; 
for  the  object  apprehended  is,  in  this  case,  one  which  does  not  even 
exist,  as  the  objects  of  external  perception  do,  in  itself  outside  of  my 
consciousness.  It  exists  only  within  me."  t 

And  Brentano  : 

"  The  phenomena  inwardly  apprehended  are  true  in  themselves, 
As  they  appear — of  this  the  evidence  with  which  they  are  apprehended 
is  a  warrant — so  they  are  in  reality.  Who,  then,  can  deny  that  in  this 
a  great  superiority  of  Psychology  over  the  physical  sciences  comes  to 
light  ?" 

And  again  : 

"  No  one  can  doubt  whether  the  psychic  condition  he  apprehends  in 
himself  \e,  and  be  so,  as  he  apprehends  it.  Whoever  should  doubt  this 
would  have  reached  that  finished  doubt  which  destroys  itself  in  de 
stroying  every  fixed  point  from  which  to  make  an  attack  upon  knowl 
edge,  "t 

Others  have  gone  to  the  opposite  extreme,  and  main-    . 
tained  that  we  can  have  no  introspective  cognition  of  our   /  ) 

*  Compare  some  remarks  in  Mill's  Logic,  bk.  i.  chap,  in   §§  2,  3. 
f  Logic,  §  40.  J  Psychologic,  bk.  n.  chap.  in.  §§  1,  2. 


188  PSYCHOLOGY. 

own  minds  at  all.  A  deliverance  of  Auguste  Comte  to  thia 
effect  has  been  so  often  quoted  as  to  be  almost  classical ; 
and  some  reference  to  it  seems  therefore  indispensable 
here. 

Philosophers,  says  Comte,*  have 

"  in  these  latter  days  imagined  themselves  able  to  distinguish,  by  a 
very  singular  subtlety,  two  sorts  of  observation  of  equal  importance, 
one  external,  the  other  internal,  the  latter  being  solely  destined  for  the 
study  of  intellectual  phenomena.  ...  I  limit  myself  to  pointing  out 
/  the  principal  consideration  which  proves  clearly  that  this  pretended 
;  direct  contemplation  of  the  mind  by  itself  is  a  pure  illusion.  .  .  . 
It  is  in  fact  evident  that,  by  an  invincible  neccessity,  the  human  mind 
can  observe  directly  all  phenomena  except  its  own  proper  states.  For 
by  whom  shall  the  observation  of  these  be  made  ?  It  is  conceivable 
that  a  man  might  observe  himself  with  respect  to  the  passions  that 
animate  him,  for  the  anatomical  organs  of  passion  are  distinct  from 
those  whose  function  is  observation.  Though  we  have  all  made  such 
observations  on  ourselves,  they  can  never  have  much  scientific  value, 
and  the  best  mode  of  knowing  the  passions  will  always  be  that  of  ob 
serving  them  from  without ;  for  every  strong  state  of  passion  ...  is 
necessarily  incompatible  with  the  state  of  observation.  But,  as  for 
observing  in  the  same  way  intellectual  phenomena  at  the  time  of  their 
actual  presence,  that  is  a  manifest  impossibility.  The  thinker  cannot 
divide  himself  into  two,  of  whom  one  reasons  whilst  the  other  observes 
him  reason.  The  organ  observed  and  the  organ  observing  being,  in 
this  case,  identical,  how  could  observation  take  place  ?  This  pretended 
psychological  method  is  then  radically  null  and  void.  On  the  one 
hand,  they  advise  you  to  isolate  yourself,  as  far  as  possible,  from  every 
external  sensation,  especially  every  intellectual  work,  — for  if  you  were 
to  busy  yourself  even  with  the  simplest  calculation,  what  would  become 
of  internal  observation  ?— on  the  other  hand,  after  having  with  the 
utmost  care  attained  this  state  of  intellectual  slumber,  you  must  begin 
to  contemplate  the  operations  going  on  in  your  mind,  when  nothing 
there  takes  place  !  Our  descendants  will  doubtless  see  such  pretensions 
some  day  ridiculed  upon  the  stage.  The  results  of  so  strange  a  proced 
ure  harmonize  entirely  with  its  principle.  For  all  the  two  thousand 
years  during  which  metaphysicians  have  thus  cultivated  psychology, 
they  are  not  agreed  about  one  intelligible  and  established  proposition. 

*  Internal  observation '  gives  almost  as  many  divergent  results  as  there 
are  individuals  who  think  they  practise  it." 

Comte  hardly  could  have  known  anything  of  the  English, 
and  nothing  of  the  German,  empirical  psychology.     The 

*  results  '  which  he  had  in  mind  when  writing  were  probably 

*  Cours  de  Philosophic  Positive,  i.  34-8. 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      189 

scholastic  ones,  such  as  principles  of  internal  activity,  the 
faculties,  the  ego,  the  liberum  arbitrium  indiffer entice,  etc. 
John  Mill,  in  replying  to  him,*  says : 

"  It  might  have  occurred  to  M.  Comte  that  a  fact  may  be  studied 
through  the  medium  of  memory,  not  at  the  very  moment  of  our  per 
ceiving  it,  but  the  moment"  after:  and  this  is  really  the  mode  in  which 
our  best  knowledge  of  our  intellectual  acts  is  generally  acquired.  We 
reflect  on  what  we  have  been  doing  when  the  act  is  past,  but  when  its 
impression  in  the  memory  is  still  fresh.  Unless  in  one  of  these  ways, 
we  could  not  have  acquired  the  knowledge  which  nobody  denies  us  to 
have,  of  what  passes  in  our  minds.  M.  Comte  would  scarcely  have 
affirmed  that  we  are  not  aware  of  our  own  intellectual  operations.  We 
know  of  our  observings  and  our  reasonings,  either  at  the  very  time,  or 
by  memory  the  moment  after;  in  either  case,  by  direct  knowledge,  and 
not  (like  things  done  by  us  in  a  state  of  somnambulism)  merely  by 
their  results.  This  simple  fact  destroys  the  whole  of  M.  Comte's  argu 
ment.  Whatever  we  are  directly  aware  of,  we  can  directly  observe." 

Where  now  does  the  truth  lie?  Our  quotation  from 
Mill  is  obviously  the  one  which  expresses  the  most  of 
practical  truth  about  the  matter.  Even  the  writers  who 
insist  upon  the  absolute  veracity  of  our  immediate  inner 
apprehension  of  a  conscious  state  have  to  contrast  with 
this  the  fallibility  of  our  memory  or  observation  of  it,  a 
moment  later.  No  one  has  emphasized  more  sharply  than 
Brentano  himself  the  difference  between  the  immediate 
feltness  of  a  feeling,  and  its  perception  by  a  subsequent  re 
flective  act.  But  which  mode  of  consciousness  of  it  is  that 
which  the  psychologist  must  depend  on  ?  If  to  have  feel 
ings  or  thoughts  in  their  immediacy  were  enough,  babies 
in  the  cradle  would  be  psychologists,  and  infallible  ones. 
But  the  psychologist  must  not  only  have  his  mental  states 
in  their  absolute  veritableness,  he  must  report  them  and 
write  about  them,  name  them,  classify  and  compare  them 
and  trace  their  relations  to  other  things.  Whilst  alive  they 
are  their  own  property ;  it  is  only  post-mortem  that  they  be 
come  his  prey.f  And  as  in  the  naming,  classing,  and  know- 

*  Auguste  Comte  and  Positivism,  3d  edition  (1882),  p.  64. 

f  Wundt  says:  "  The  first  rule  for  utilizing  inward  observation  con- 
gists  in  taking,  as  far  as  possible,  experiences  that  are  accidental,  unex 
pected,  and  not  intentionally  brought  about.  .  .  .  First  it  is  best  as  far  as 
possible  to  rely  on  Memory  and  not  on  immediate  Apprehension.  .  . 


190  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ing  of  things  in  general  we  are  notoriously  fallible,  why  noi 
also  here?  Comte  is  quite  right  in  laying  stress  on  the 
,  fact  that  a  feeling,  to  be  named,  judged,  or  perceived,  must 
\  be  already  past.  No  subjective  state,  whilst  present,  is  its 
own  object;  its  object  is  always  something  else.  There 
are,  it  is  true,  cases  in  which  we  appear  to  be  naming  our 
present  feeling,  and  so  to  be  experiencing  and  observing 
the  same  inner  fact  at  a  single  stroke,  as  when  we  say  '  I 
feel  tired,'  '  I  am  angry,'  etc.  But  these  are  illusory,  and 
a  little  attention  unmasks  the  illusion.  The  present  con 
scious  state,  when  I  say  '  I  feel  tired,'  is  not  the  direct 
state  of  tire ;  when  I  say  '  I  feel  angry,'  it  is  not  the  direct 
state  of  anger.  It  is  the  state  of  say  ing -I-f eel-tired,  of 
saying-I-f eel-angry, — entirely  different  matters,  so  different 
that  the  fatigue  and  anger  apparently  included  in  them  are 
considerable  modifications  of  the  fatigue  and  anger  directly 
felt  the  previous  instant.  The  act  of  naming  them  has 
momentarily  detracted  from  their  force.* 

The  only  sound  grounds  on  which  the  infallible  veracity 
of  the  introspective  judgment  might  be  maintained  are 
empirical.  If  we  had  reason  to  think  it  has  never  yet 
deceived  us,  we  might  continue  to  trust  it.  This  is  the 
ground  actually  maintained  by  Herr  Mohr. 

*'  The  illusions  of  our  senses,1'  says  this  author,  "  have  undermined 

our  belief  in  the  reality  of  the  outer  world;  but  in  the  sphere  of  inner 

observation  our  confidence  is  intact,  for  we  have  never  found  ourselves 

••  «J  to  be  in  error  about  the  reality  of  an  act  of  thought  or  feeling.     We 


Second,  internal  observation  is  better  fitted  to  grasp  clearly  conscious 
states,  especially  voluntary  mental  acts:  such  inner  processes  as  are  ob 
scurely  conscious  and  involuntary  will  almost  entirely  elude  it,  because 
the  effort  to  observe  interferes  with  them,  and  because  they  seldom  abide 
in  memory."  (Logik,  n.  432.) 

*  In  cases  like  this,  where  the  state  outlasts  the  act  of  naming  it,  exists 

before  it,  and  recurs  when  it  is  past,  we  probably  run  little  practical  risk 

of  error  when  we  talk  as  if  the  state  knew  itself.     The  state  of  feeling  and 

the  state  of  naming  the  feeling  are  continuous,  and  the  infallibility  of 

such  prompt  introspective  judgments  is  probably  great.    But  even  here  the 

certainty  of  our  knowledge  ought  not  to  be  argued  on  the  a  priori  ground 

;    that  percipi  and  esse  are  in   psychology  the  same.     The  states    are  really 

'     two;  the  naming  state  and  the  named  state  are  apart;  'percipi  is  esse'  is  not 

the  principle  tnat  applies. 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      191 

have  never  been  misled  into  thinking  we  were  not  in  doubt  or  in  anger 
when  these  conditions  were  really  states  of  our  consciousness."  * 

But  sound  as  the  reasoning  here  would  be,  were  the 
premises  correct,  I  fear  the  latter  cannot  pass.  However 
it  may  be  with  such  strong  feelings  as  doubt  or  anger,  (  i  / 
about  weaker  feelings,  and  about  the  relations  to  each  other  !/f 
of  all  feelings,  we  find  ourselves  in  continual  error  and 
uncertainty  so  soon  as  we  are  called  on  to  name  and  class, 
and  not  merely  to  feel.  Who  can  be  sure  of  the  exact  order 
of  his  feelings  when  they  are  excessively  rapid  ?  Who  can 
be  sure,  in  his  sensible  perception  of  a  chair,  how  much 
comes  from  the  eye  and  how  much  is  supplied  out  of  the 
previous  knowledge  of  the  mind  ?  Who  can  compare  with 
precision  the  quantities  of  disparate  feelings  even  where  the 
feelings  are  very  much  alike  ?  For  instance,  where  an  object 
is  felt  now  against  the  back  and  now  against  the  cheek, 
which  feeling  is  most  extensive?  Who  can  be  sure  that 
two  given  feelings  are  or  are  not  exactly  the  same  ?  Who 
can  tell  which  is  briefer  or  longer  than  the  other  when 
both  occupy  but  an  instant  of  time  ?  Who  knows,  of  many  | 
actions,  for  what  motive  they  were  done,  or  if  for  any  motive 
at  all  ?  Who  can  enumerate  all  the  distinct  ingredients  of 
such  a  complicated  feeling  as  anger  ?  and  who  can  tell  off 
hand  whether  or  no  a  perception  of  distance  be  a  compound 
or  a  simple  state  of  mind?  The  whole  mind-stuff  contro 
versy  would  stop  if  we  could  decide  conclusively  by  intro-  / 
spection  that  what  seem  to  us  elementary  feelings  are  ' 
really  elementary  and  not  compound. 

Mr.  Sully,  in  his  work  on  Illusions,  has  a  chapter  on 
those  of  Introspection  from  which  we  might  now  quote. 
But,  since  the  rest  of  this  volume  will  be  little  more  than  a 
collection  of  illustrations  of  the  difficulty  of  discovering  by 
direct  introspection  exactly  what  our  feelings  and  their 
relations  are,  we  need  not  anticipate  our  own  future  details, 
but  just  state  our  general  conclusion  that  introspection  is 
difficult  and  fallible;  and  that  the  difficulty  is  simply  that 
of  all  observation  of  whatever  kind.  Something  is  before 

*  J.  Mohr:  Grundlage  der  Empirischen  Psychologic  (Leipzig,  1882), 
p- 47. 


192  PSYCHOLOGY. 

us ;  we  do  our  best  to  tell  what  it  is,  but  in  spite  of  oui 
good  will  we  may  go  astray,  and  give  a  description  more 
applicable  to  some  other  sort  of  thing.  The  only  safeguard 
is  in  the  final  consensus  of  our  farther  knowledge  about  the 
thing  in  question,  later  views  correcting  earlier  ones,  until 
at  last  the  harmony  of  a  consistent  system  is  reached. 
Such  a  system,  gradually  worked  out,  is  the  best  guarantee 
the  psychologist  can  give  for  the  soundness  of  any  partic 
ular  psychologic  observation  which  he  may  report.  Such  a 
system  we  ourselves  must  strive,  as  far  as  may  be,  to  attain. 
The  English  writers  on  psychology,  and  the  school  of 
Herbart  in  Germany,  have  in  the  main  contented  them 
selves  with  such  results  as  the  immediate  introspection  of 
single  individuals  gave,  and  shown  what  a  body  of  doctrine 
they  may  make.  The  works  of  Locke,  Hume,  Reid,  Hart 
ley,  Stewart,  Brown,  the  Mills,  will  always  be  classics  in 
this  line  ;  and  in  Professor  Bain's  Treatises  we  have  prob 
ably  the  last  word  of  what  this  method  taken  mainly  by 
itself  can  do — the  last  monument  of  the  youth  of  our  science, 
still  unteclmical  and  generally  intelligible,  like  the  Chem 
istry  of  Lavoisier,  or  Anatomy  before  the  microscope  was 
used. 

The  Experimental  Method.  But  psychology  is  passing 
into  a  less  simple  phase.  Within  a  few  years  what  one  may 
call  a  microscopic  psychologj^  has  arisen  in  Germany,  car 
ried  on  by  experimental  methods,  asking  of  course  every 
moment  for  introspective  data,  but  eliminating  their  uncer 
tainty  by  operating  on  a  large  scale  and  taking  statistical 
means.  This  method  taxes  patience  to  the  utmost,  and 
could  hardly  have  arisen  in  a  country  whose  natives 
could  be  bored.  Such  Germans  as  Weber,  Fechner, 
Vierordt,  and  Wundt  obviously  cannot ;  and  their  success 
has  brought  into  the  field  an  array  of  younger  experi 
mental  psychologists,  bent  on  studying  the  elements  of  the 
mental  life,  dissecting  them  out  from  the  gross  results  in 
which  they  are  embedded,  and  as  far  as  possible  reducing 
them  to  quantitative  scales.  The  simple  and  open  method 
of  attack  having  done  what  it  can,  the  method  of  patience, 
starving  out,  and  harassing  to  death  is  tried;  the  Mind 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      103 

must  submit  to  a  regular  siege,  in  which  minute  advantages 
gained  night  and  day  by  the  forces  that  hem  her  in  must 
sum  themselves  up  at  last  into  her  overthrow.  There  is 
little  of  the  grand  style  about  these  new  prism,  pendulum, 
and  chronograph-philosophers.  They  mean  business,  not 
chivalry.  What  generous  divination,  and  that  superiority 
in  virtue  which  was  thought  by  Cicero  to  give  a  man  the 
best  insight  into  nature,  have  failed  to  do,  their  spying 
and  scraping,  their  deadly  tenacity  and  almost  diabolic 
cunning,  will  doubtless  some  day  bring  about, 

No  general  description  of  the  methods  of  experimental 
psychology  would  be  instructive  to  one  unfamiliar  with  the 
instances  of  their  application,  so  we  will  waste  no  words 
upon  the  attempt.  The  principal  fields  of  experimentation 
BO  far  have  been  :  1)  the  connection  of  conscious  states 
with  their  physical  conditions,  including  the  whole  of  brain- 
physiology,  and  the  recent  minutely  cultivated  physiology 
of  the  sense-organs,  together  with  what  is  technically  known 
as  'psycho-physics,'  or  the  laws  of  ^correlation  between 
sensations  aijd  the  outward  stimuli  by  which  they  are 
aroused ;  2)  the  analysis  of  space-perceptionlnto  its  sensa 
tional  elements ;  3)  the  measurement  of  the  duration  of  the 
simplest  mental  processes ;  4)  that  of  the  accuracy  of  re 
production  in  the  memory  of  sensible  experiences  and  of 
intervals  of  space  and  time;  5)  that  of  the  manner  in 
which  simple  mental  states  influence  each  other,  call  each 
other  up,  or  inhibit  each  other's  reproduction ;  6)  that  of 
the  number  of  facts  which  consciousness  can  simultaneously 
discern ;  finally,  7)  that  of  the  elementary  laws  of  obli- 
vescence  and  retention.  It  must  be  said  that  in  some  of 
these  fields  the  results  have  as  yet  borne  little  theoretic 
fruit  commensurate  with  the  great  labor  expended  in  their 
acquisition.  But  facts  are  facts,  and  if  we  only  get  enough 
of  them  they  are  sure  to  combine.  New  ground  will  from 
year  to  year  be  broken,  and  theoretic  results  will  grow. 
Meanwhile  the  experimental  method  has  quite  changed  the 
face  of  the  science  so  far  as  the  latter  is  a  record  of  mere 
work  done. 

The  comparative  method,  finally,  supplements  the  intro 


194  PSYCHOLOGY. 

spective  and  experimental  methods.  This  method  pre 
supposes  a  normal  psychology  of  introspection  to  be  estab 
lished  in  its  main  features.  But  where  the  origin  of  these 
features,  or  their  dependence  upon  one  another,  is  in  ques 
tion,  it  is  of  the  utmost  importance  to  trace  the  phenom 
enon  considered  through  all  its  possible  variations  of  type 
and  combination.  So  it  has  come  to  pass  that  instincts  of 
;  animals  are  ransacked  to  throw  light  on  our  own  ;  and  that 
^  the  reasoning  faculties  of  bees  and  ants,  the  minds  of  savages, 
infants,  madmen,  idiots,  the  deaf  and  blind,  criminals,  and 
eccentrics,  are  all  invoked  in  support  of  this  or  that  special 
theory  about  some  part  of  our  own  mental  life.  The  history 
of  sciences,  moral  and  political  institutions,  and  languages, 
as  types  of  mental  product,  are  pressed  into  the  same  ser 
vice.  Messrs.  Darwin  and  Galton  have  set  the  example  of 
circulars  of  questions  sent  out  by  the  hundred  to  those 
supposed  able  to  reply.  The  custom  has  spread,  and  it 
will  be  well  for  us  in  the  next  generation  if  such  cir 
culars  be  not  ranked  among  the  common  pests  of  life. 
Meanwhile  information  grows,  and  results  emerge.  There 
are  great  sources  of  error  in  the  comparative  method-^ 
The  interpretation  of  the  '  psychoses '  of  animals,  savages, 
and  infants  is  necessarily  wild  work,  in  which  the  per 
sonal  equation  of  the  investigator  has  things  very  much 
its  own  way.  A  savage  will  be  reported  to  have  no 
moral  or  religious  feeling  if  his  actions  shock  the  ob 
server  unduly.  A  child  will  be  assumed  without  self-con 
sciousness  because  he  talks  of  himself  in  the  third  person, 
etc.,  etc.  No  rules  can  be  laid  down  in  advance.  Com 
parative  observations,  to  be  definite,  must  usually  be  made 
to  test  some  pre-existing  hypothesis  ;  and  the  only  thing 
/  j\  then  is  to  use  as  much  sagacity  as  you  possess,  and  to  be 
7  as  candid  as  you  can. 

THE  SOURCES  OF  ERROR  IN  PSYCHOLOGY. 

The  first  of  them  arises  from  the  Misleading  Influence  0} 
Speech.  Language  was  originally  made  by  men  who  were 
fSlf^psychologists,  and  most  men  to-day  employ  almost 
exclusively  the  vocabulary  of  outward  things.  The  car 
dinal  passions  of  our  life,  anger,  love,  fear,  hate,  hope, 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      195 

and  the  most  comprehensive  divisions  of  our  intellectual 
activity,  to  remember,  expect,  think,  know,  dream,  with 
the  broadest  genera  of  aesthetic  feeling,  joy,  sorrow, 
pleasure,  pain,  are  the  only  facts  of  a  subjective  order 
which  this  vocabulary  deigns  to  note  by  special  words. 
The  elementary  qualities  of  sensation,  bright,  loud,  red, 
blue,  hot,  cold,  are,  it  is  true,  susceptible  of  being  used  in 
both  an  objective  and  a  subjective  sense.  They  stand  for 
outer  qualities  and  for  the  feelings  which  these  arouse.  But 
the  objective  sense  is  the  original  sense ;  and  still  to-day 
we  have  to  describe  a  large  number  of  sensations  by  the 
name  of  the  object  from  which  they  have  most  frequently 
been  got.  An  orange  color,  an  odor  of  violets,  a  cheesy 
taste,  a  thunderous  sound,  a  fiery  smart,  etc.,  will  recall 
what  I  mean.  This  absence  of  a  special  vocabulary  for  sub 
jective  facts  hinders  the  study  of  all  but  the  very  coarsest 
of  them.  Empiricist  writers  are  very  fond  of  emphasizing 
one  great  set  of  delusions  which  language  inflicts  on  the 
mind.  Whenever  we  have  made  a  word,  they  say,  to  denote 
a  certain  group  of  phenomena,  we  are  prone  to  suppose  a 
substantive  entity  existing  beyond  the  phenomena,  of  which 
the  word  shall  be  the  name.  But  the  lack  of  a  word  quite 
as  often  leads  to  the  directly  opposite  error.  We  are  then 
prone  to  suppose  that  no  entity  can  be  there ;  and  so  we 
come  to  overlook  phenomena  whose  existence  would  be 
patent  to  us  all,  had  we  only  grown  up  to  hear  it  familiarly 
recognized  in  speech.*  It  is  hard  to  focus  OUT  attention  on  \ 
J;he  nameless,  and  so  there  results  a  certain  vacuousness  in  ) 
the  descriptive  parts  of  most  psychologies. 

But  a  worse  defect  than  vacuousness  comes  from  the 
dependence  of  psychology  on  common  speech.  Naming 
our  thought  by  its  own  objects,  we  almost  all  of  us  assume 
that  as  the  objects  are,  so  the  thought  must  be.  The 
thought  of  several  distinct  things  can  only  consist  of  several 
distinct  bits  of  thought,  or  '  ideas ; '  that  of  an  abstract  or 
universal  object  can  only  be  an  abstract  or  universal,  idea 

*  In  English  we  have  not  even  the  generic  distinction  between  the- 
thiug-thought-of  and  the-thought-thinking-it,  which  in  German  is  expressed 
by  the  opposition  between  (jedachtes  and  Gedanke,  in  Latiu  by  that  between 
WQitfitum  and  cooitatda 


196  PSYCHOLOGY. 

As  each  object  may  come  and  go,  be  forgotten  and  then 
thought  of  again,  it  is  held  that  the  thought  of  it  has  a  pre 
cisely  similar  independence,  self-identity,  and  mobility. 
The  thought  of  the  object's  recurrent  identity  is  regarded 
as  the  identity  of  its  recurrent  thought ;  and  the  perceptions 
of  multiplicity,  of  coexistence,  of  succession,  are  severally 
conceived  to  be  brought  about  only  through  a  multiplic 
ity,  a  coexistence,  a  succession,  of  perceptions.  The  con 
tinuous  flow  of  the  mental  stream  is  sacrificed,  and  in  its 
place  an  atomism,  a  brickbat  plan  of  construction,  is 
preached,  for  the  existence  of  which  no  good  introspective 
grounds  can  be  brought  forward,  and  out  of  which  pres 
ently  grow  all  sorts  of  paradoxes  and  contradictions,  the 
heritage  of  woe  of  students  of  the  mind. 

These  words  are  meant  to  impeach  the  entire  English 
psychology  derived  from  Locke  and  Hume,  and  the  entire 
German  psychology  derived  from  Herbart,  so  far  as  they 
both  treat  'ideas'  as  separate  subjective  entities  that  come 
and  go.  Examples  will  soon  make  the  matter  clearer. 
Meanwhile  our  psychologic  insight  is  vitiated  by  still  other 
snares. 

'The  Psychologist's  Fallacy.'  The  great  snare  of  the  psy 
chologist  is  the  confusion  of  his  own  standpoint  with  that  of  the 
•mental  fact  about  which  he  is  making  his  report.  I  shall 
hereafter  call  this  the  'psychologist's  fallacy'  par  excellence. 
For  some  of  the  mischief,  here  too,  language  is  to  blame. 
The  psychologist,  as  we  remarked  above  (p.  183),  stands  out 
side  of  the  mental  state  he  speaks  of.  Both  itself  and  it» 
object  are  objects  for  him.  Now  when  it  is  a  cognitive  state 
(percept,  thought,  concept,  etc.),  he  ordinarily  has  no  other 
way  of  naming  it  than  as  the  thought,  percept,  etc.,  of  that 
object.  He  himself,  meanwhile,  knowing  the  self-same 
object  in  his  way,  gets  easily  led  to  suppose  that  the 
thought,  which  is  of  it,  knows  it  in  the  same  way  in  wrhich 
he  knows  it,  although  this  is  often  very  far  from  being  the 
case.*  The  most  fictitious  puzzles  have  been  introduced 
into  our  science  by  this  means.  The  so-called  question  of 
presentative  or  representative  perception,  of  whether  an 

*  Compare  B.  P.  Bowne's  Metaphysics  (1882),  p.  408, 


THE  METHODS  AND  SNARES  OF  PSYCHOLOGY.      197 

object  is  present  to  the  thought  that  thinks  it  by  a  coun 
terfeit  image  of  itself,  or  directly  and  without  any  interven* 
ing  image  at  all ;  the  question  of  nominalism  and  concep- 
tualism,  of  the  shape  in  which  things  are  present  when  only 
a  general  notion  of  them  is  before  the  mind ;  are  compara 
tively  easy  questions  when  once  the  psychologist's  fallacy 
is  eliminated  from  their  treatment, — as  we  shall  ere  long 
see  (in  Chapter  XII). 

Another  variety  of  the  psychologist's  fallacy  is  the  as 
sumption  that  the  mental  state  studied  must  be  conscious  of  it 
self  as  the  psychologist  is  conscious  of  it.  The  mental  state  is 
aware  of  itself  only  from  within ;  it  grasps  what  we  call  its 
own  content,  and  nothing  more.  The  psychologist,  on  the 
contrary,  is  aware  of  it  from  without,  and  knows  its  relations 
with  all  sorts  of  other  things.  What  the  thought  sees  is  ' 
only  its  own  object;  what  the  psychologist  sees  is  the  j 
thought's  object,  plus  the  thought  itself,  plus  possibly  all 
the  rest  of  the  world.  We  must  be  very  careful  therefore, 
in  discussing  a  state  of  mind  from  the  psychologist's  point 
of  view,  to  avoid  foisting  into  its  own  ken  matters  that  are 
only  there  for  ours.  We  must  avoid  substituting  what  we 
know  the  consciousness  is,  for  what  it  is  a  consciousness  of, 
and  counting  its  outward,  and  so  to  speak  physical,  relations 
with  other  facts  of  the  world,  in  among  the  objects  of  which 
we  set  it  down  as  aware.  Crude  as  such  a  confusion  of 
standpoints  seems  to  be  when  abstractly  stated,  it  is  never 
theless  a  snare  into  which  no  psychologist  has  kept  himself 
at  all  times  from  falling,  and  which  forms  almost  the  entire 
stock-in-trade  of  certain  schools.  We  cannot  be  too  watch 
ful  against  its  subtly  corrupting  influence. 

Summary.  To  sum  up  the  chapter,  Psychology  assumes 
that  thoughts  successively  occur,  and  that  they  know  objects 
in  a  world  which  the  psychologist  also  knows.  These  thoughts 
are  the  subjective  data  of  which  he  treats,  and  their  relations  to 
their  objects,  to  the  brain,  and  to  the  rest  of  the  ivorld  constitute 
the  subject-matter  of  psychologic  science.  Its  methods  are 
introspection,  experimentation,  and  comparison.  But  intro 
spection  is  no  sure  guide  to  truths  about  our  mental  states ; 
and  in  particular  the  poverty  of  the  psychological  vocabu. 


198  PSYCHOLOGY. 

lary  leads  us  to  drop  out  certain  states  from  our  consid 
eration,  and  to  treat  others  as  if  they  knew  themselves  and 
their  objects  as  the  psychologist  knows  both,  which  is  a 
disastrous  fallacy  in  the  science. 


CHAPTER  VIII. 
THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS. 

SINCE,  for  psychology,  a  mind  is  an  object  in  a  world  of 
other  objects,  its  relation  to  those  other  objects  must  next 
be  surveyed.  First  of  all,  to  its 

TIME-RELATIONS. 

Minds,  as  we  know  them,  are  temporary  existences. 
Whether  my  mind  had  a  being  prior  to  the  birth  of  my  body, 
whether  it  shall  have  one  after  the  latter's  decease,  are 
questions  to  be  decided  by  my  general  philosophy  or  the 
ology  rather  than  by  what  we  call '  scientific  facts  ' — I  leave 
out  the  facts  of  so-called  spiritualism,  as  being  still  in  dis 
pute.  Psychology,  as  a  natural  science,  confines  itself  to 
the  present  life,  in  which  every  mind  appears  yoked  to  a 
body  through  which  its  manifestations  appear.  In  the 
present  world,  then,  minds  precede,  succeed,  and  coexist 
with  each  other  in  the  common  receptacle  of  time,  and  of 
their  collective  relations  to  the  latter  nothing  more  can  be 
said.  The  life  of  the  individual  consciousness  in  time  seems, 
however,  to  be  an  interrupted  one,  so  that  the  question : 

Are  we  ever  wholly  unconscious  ? 

becomes  one  which  must  be  discussed.  Sleep,  fainting, 
coma,  epilepsy,  and  other  '  unconscious '  conditions  are  apt 
to  break  in  upon  and  occupy  large  durations  of  what  we 
nevertheless  consider  the  mental  history  of  a  single  man. 
And,  the  fact  of  interruption  being  admitted,  is  it  not 
possible  that  it  may  exist  where  we  do  not  suspect  it,  and 
even  perhaps  in  an  incessant  and  fine-grained  form  ? 

This  might  happen,  and  yet  the  subject  himself  never 
know  it.  We  often  take  ether  and  have  operations  per 
formed  without  a  suspicion  that  our  consciousness  has  suf 

199 


200  PSYCHOLOGY. 

fered  a  breach.  The  two  ends  join  each  other  smoothly 
over  the  gap ;  and  only  the  sight  of  our  wound  assures  us 
that  we  must  have  been  living  through  a  time  which  for 
our  immediate  consciousness  was  non-existent.  Even  in 
sleep  this  sometimes  happens :  We  think  we  have  had  no 
nap,  and  it  takes  the  clock  to  assure  us  that  we  are  wrong.* 
We  thus  may  live  through  a  real  outward  time,  a  time 
known  by  the  psychologist  who  studies  us,  and  yet  not 
feel  the  time,  or  infer  it  from  any  inward  sign.  The  ques 
tion  is,  how  often  does  this  happen  ?  Is  consciousness 
really  discontinuous,  incessantly  interrupted  and  recom 
mencing  (from  the  psychologist's  point  of  view)  ?  and  does 
it  only  seem  continuous  to  itself  by  an  illusion  analogous 
to  that  of  the  zoetrope  ?  Or  is  it  at  most  times  as  continu 
ous  outwardly  as  it  inwardly  seems  ? 

It  must  be  confessed  that  we  can  give  no  rigorous 
answer  to  this  question.  Cartesians,  who  hold  that  the 
essence  of  the  soul  is  to  think,  can  of  course  solve  it 
a  priori,  and  explain  the  appearance  of  thoughtless  inter 
vals  either  by  lapses  in  our  ordinary  memory,  or  by  the 
sinking  of  consciousness  to  a  minimal  state,  in  which  per 
haps  all  that  it  feels  is  a  bare  existence  which  leaves  no 
particulars  behind  to  be  recalled.  If,  however,  one  have 
no  doctrine  about  the  soul  or  its  essence,  one  is  free  to  take 
the  appearances  for  what  they  seem  to  be,  and  to  admit 
that  the  mind,  as  well  as  the  body,  may  go  to  sleep. 

Locke  was  the  first  prominent  champion  of  this  latter 
view,  and  the  pages  in  which  he  attacks  the  Cartesian  belief 
are  as  spirited  as  any  in  his  Essay.  "  Every  drowsy  nod 
shakes  their  doctrine  who  teach  that  their  soul  is  always 
thinking."  He  will  not  believe  that  men  so  easily  forget. 
M.  Jouffroy  and  Sir  W.  Hamilton,  attacking  the  question  in 
the  same  empirical  way,  are  led  to  an  opposite  conclusion. 
Their  reasons,  briefly  stated,  are  these  : 


*  Messrs.  Payton  Spence  (Journal  of  Spec.  Phil.,  x.  338,  xiv.  286) 
and  M.  M.  Garver  (Amer.  Jour,  of  Science,  3d  series,  xx.  189)  argue,  the 
one  from  speculative,  the  other  from  experimental  grounds,  that,  the  physi 
cal  condition  of  consciousness  being  neural  vibration,  the  consciousness 
must  itself  be  incessantly  interrupted  by  unconsciousness— about  fifty  times 
a  second,  according  to  Garver. 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO   OTHER  THINGS.      201 

Iii  somnambulism,  natural  or  induced,  there  is  often  a 
great  display  of  intellectual  activity,  followed  by  complete 
oblivion  of  all  that  has  passed.* 

On  being  suddenly  awakened  from  a  sleep,  however  pro 
found,  we  always  catch  ourselves  in  the  middle  of  a  dream. 
Common  dreams  are  often  remembered  for  a  few  minutes 
after  waking,  and  then  irretrievably  lost. 

Frequently,  when  awake  and  absent-minded,  we  are 
visited  by  thoughts  and  images  which  the  next  instant  we 
cannot  recall. 

Our  insensibility  to  habitual  noises,  etc.,  whilst  awake, 
proves  that  we  can  neglect  to  attend  to  that  which  we  never 
theless  feel.  Similarly  in  sleep,  we  grow  inured,  and  sleep 
soundly  in  presence  of  sensations  of  sound,  cold,  contact, 
etc.,  which  at  first  prevented  our  complete  repose.  We  have 
learned  to  neglect  them  whilst  asleep  as  we  should  whilst 
awake.  The  mere  sense-impressions  are  the  same  when  the 
sleep  is  deep  as  when  it  is  light ;  the  difference  must  lie  in 
a  judgment  on  the  part  of  the  apparently  slumbering  mind 
that  they  are  not  worth  noticing. 

This  discrimination  is  equally  shown  by  nurses  of  the 
sick  and  mothers  of  infants,  who  will  sleep  through  much 
noise  of  an  irrelevant  sort,  but  waken  at  the  slightest  stir 
ring  of  the  patient  or  the  babe.  This  last  fact  shows  the 
sense-organ  to  be  pervious  for  sounds. 

Many  people  have  a  remarkable  faculty  of  registering 
when  asleep  the  flight  of  time.  They  will  habitually  wake 
up  at  the  same  minute  day  after  day,  or  will  wake  punctu 
ally  at  an  unusual  hour  determined  upon  overnight.  How 
can  this  knowledge  of  the  hour  (more  accurate  often  than 
anything  the  waking  consciousness  shows)  be  possible 
without  mental  activity  during  the  interval  ? 

Such  are  what  we  may  call  the  classical  reasons  for  ad 
mitting  that  the  mind  is  active  even  when  the  person  after 
wards  ignores  the  fact.f  Of  late  years,  or  rather,  one  may 


*  That  the  appearance  of  meutal  activity  here  is  real  can  be  proved  by 
suggesting  to  the  '  hypnotized  '  somnambulist  that  he  shall  remember  when 
he  awakes.  He  will  then  often  do  so. 

f  For  more  details,  cf.  Malebranche,  Rech.  de  la  Verite,  bk.  in.  chap, 
i;  J.  Locke,  Essay  cone.  H.  U.,  book  11.  ch.  i;  C.  Wolf,  Psychol. 


202  PSYCHOLOGY. 

say,  of  late  months,  they  have  been  reinforced  by  a  lot  of 
curious  observations  made  on  hysterical  and  hypnotic 
subjects,  which  prove  the  existence  of  a  highly  developed 
consciousness  in  places  where  it  has  hitherto  not  been  sus 
pected  at  all.  These  observations  throw  such  a  novel  light 
upon  human  nature  that  I  must  give  them  in  some  detail. 
That  at  least  four  different  and  in  a  certain  sense  rival  ob 
servers  should  agree  in  the  same  conclusion  justifies  us  in 
accepting  the  conclusion  as  true. 

'  Unconsciousness '  in  Hysterics. 

One  of  the  most  constant  symptoms  in  persons  suffer 
ing  from  hysteric  disease  in  its  extreme  forms  consists  in 
alterations  of  the  natural  sensibility  of  various  parts  and 
organs  of  the  body.  Usually  the  alteration  is  in  the  direc 
tion  of  defect,  or  anaesthesia.  One  or  both  eyes  are  blind, 
or  color-blind,  or  there  is  hemianopsia  (blindness  to  one 
half  the  field  of  view),  or  the  field  is  contracted.  Hearing, 
taste,  smell  may  similarly  disappear,  in  part  or  in  totality. 
Still  more  striking  are  the  cutaneous  anaesthesias.  The  old 
witch-finders  looking  for  the  '  devil's  seals  '  learned  well 
the  existence  of  those  insensible  patches  on  the  skin  of 
their  victims,  to  which  the  minute  physical  examinations 
of  recent  medicine  have  but  recently  attracted  attention 
again.  They  may  be  scattered  anywhere,  but  are  very 
apt  to  affect  one  side  of  the  body.  Not  infrequently  they 
affect  an  entire  lateral  half,  from  head  to  foot;  and  the 
insensible  skin  of,  say,  the  left  side  will  then  be  found 
separated  from  the  naturally  sensitive  skin  of  the  right  by  a 
perfectly  sharp  line  of  demarcation  down  the  middle  of  the 
front  and  back.  Sometimes,  most  remarkable  of  all,  the 
entire  skin,  hands,  feet,  face,  everything,  and  the  mucous 
membranes,  muscles  and  joints  so  far  as  they  can  be  ex- 

rationalis,  §  59;  Sir  W.  Hamilton,  Lectures  on  Metaph.,  lecture  xvn; 
J.  Bascom,  Science  of  Mind,  §  12;  Th.  Jouffroy,  Melanges  Philos.,  'du 
Sommeil';  H.  Holland,  Chapters  on  Mental  Physiol.,  p.  80;  B.  Brodie, 
Psychol,  Researches,  p.  147;  E.  M.  Chesley,  Journ.  of  Spec.  Phil.,  vol.  xi' 
p.  72;  Th.  Ribot,  Maladies  de  la  Personnalite,  pp.  8-10;  H.  Lotze,  Meta 
physics,  §  533. 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS.     203 

plored,  become  completely  insensible  without  the  other  vital 
functions  becoming  gravely  disturbed. 

These  hysterical  anaesthesias  can  be  made  to  disappear 
more  or  less  completely  by  various  odd  processes.  It  has 
been  recently  found  that  magnets,  plates  of  metal,  or  the 
electrodes  of  a  battery,  placed  against  the  skin,  have  this 
peculiar  power.  And  when  one  side  is  relieved  in  this  way. 
the  anaesthesia  is  often  found  to  have  transferred  itself  to 
the  opposite  side,  which  until  then  was  well.  Whether  these 
strange  effects  of  magnets  and  metals  be  due  to  their  direct 
physiological  action,  or  to  a  prior  effect  on  the  patient's 
mind  ('  expectant  attention'  or  *  suggestion')  is  still  a 
mooted  question.  A  still  better  awakener  of  sensibility  is 
the  hypnotic  trance,  into  which  many  of  these  patients  can 
be  very  easily  placed,  and  in  which  their  lost  sensibility  not 
infrequently  becomes  entirely  restored.  Such  returns  of 
sensibility  succeed  the  times  of  insensibility  and  alternate 
with  them.  But  Messrs.  Pierre  Janet*  and  A.  Biuet  t  have 
shown  that  during  the  times  of  anaesthesia,  and  coexisting 
with  it,  sensibility  to  the  anesthetic  parts  is  also  there,  in  the 
form  of  a  secondary  consciousness  entirely  cut  off  from  the 
primary  or  normal  one,  but  susceptible  of  being  tapped  and 
made  to  testify  to  its  existence  in  various  odd  ways. 

Chief  amongst  these  is  what  M.  Janet  calls  '  the  method 
of  distraction.'  These  hysterics  are  apt  to  possess  a  very 
narrow  field  of  attention,  and  to  be  unable  to  think  of  more 
than  one  thing  at  a  time.  When  talking  with  any  person 
they  forget  everything  else.  "  When  Lucie  talked  directly 
with  any  one,"  saysM.  Janet,  "she  ceased  to  be  able  to  hear 
any  other  person.  You  may  stand  behind  her,  call  her  by 
name,  shout  abuse  into  her  ears,  without  making  her  turn 
round ;  or  place  yourself  before  her,  show  her  objects, 
touch  her,  etc.,  without  attracting  her  notice.  When  finally 
she  becomes  aware  of  you,  she  thinks  you  have  just  come 
into  the  room  again,  and  greets  you  accordingly.  This 
singular  forgetfulness  makes  her  liable  to  tell  all  her  secrete 
aloud,  unrestrained  by  the  presence  of  unsuitable  auditors." 

*  L'Automatisme  Psychologique,  Paris,  1889,  passim. 
f  See  his  articles  in  the  Chicago   Open  Court,  for  July,  August  and 
November,  1889.     Also  in  the  Revue  Philosophique  for  1889  and  '90. 


204  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Now  M.  Janet  found  in  several  subjects  like  this  that  if  he 
came  up  behind  them  whilst  they  were  plunged  in  conversa 
tion  with  a  third  party,  and  addressed  them  in  a  whisper,  tell 
ing  them  to  raise  their  hand  or  perform  other  simple  acts, 
they  would  obey  the  order  given,  although  their  talk 
ing  intelligence  was  quite  unconscious  of  receiving  it.  Lead 
ing  them  from  one  thing  to  another,  he  made  them  reply  by 
signs  to  his  whispered  questions,  and  finally  made  them 
answer  in  writing,  if  a  pencil  were  placed  in  their  hand. 
The  primary  consciousness  meanwhile  went  on  with  the 
conversation,  entirely  unaware  of  these  performances  on  the 
hand's  part.  The  consciousness  which  presided  over  these 
latter  appeared  in  its  turn  to  be  quite  as  little  disturbed  by 
the  upper  consciousness's  concerns.  This  proof  by 'auto 
matic  '  ivriting,  of  a  secondary  consciousness's  existence,  is 
the  most  cogent  and  striking  one  ;  but  a  crowd  of  other  facts 
prove  the  same  thing.  If  I  run  through  them  rapidly,  the 
reader  will  probably  be  convinced. 

The  apparently  anaesthetic  hand  of  these  subjects,  for 
one  thing,  will  often  adapt  itself  discriminatingly  to  what 
ever  object  may  be  put  into  it.  With  a  pencil  it  will  make 
writing  movements  ;  into  a  pair  of  scissors  it  will  put  its  fin 
gers  and  will  open  and  shut  them,  etc.,  etc.  The  primary  con 
sciousness,  so  to  call  it,  is  meanwhile  unable  to  say  whether 
or  no  anything  is  in  the  hand,  if  the  latter  be  hidden  from 
sight.  "  I  put  a  pair  of  eyeglasses  into  Leonie's  anaesthetic 
hand,  this  hand  opens  it  and  raises  it  towards  the  nose,  but 
half  way  thither  it  enters  the  field  of  vision  of  Leonie,  who 
sees  it  and  stops  stupefied  :  '  Why,'  says  she, '  I  have  an  eye 
glass  in  my  left  hand  !'"  M.  Binet  found  a  very  curious  sort 
of  connection  between  the  apparently  anaesthetic  skin  and 
the  mind  in  some  Salpetriere-subjects.  Things  placed  in 
the  hand  were  not  felt,  but  thought  of  (apparently  in  visual 
terms)  and  in  no  wise  referred  by  the  subject  to  their  start 
ing  point  in  the  hand's  sensation.  A  key,  a  knife,  placed  in 
the  hand  occasioned  ideas  of  a  key  or  a  knife,  but  the  hand 
felt  nothing.  Similarly  the  subject  thought  of  the  number 
3,  6,  etc.,  if  the  hand  or  finger  was  bent  three  or  six  times 
by  the  operator,  or  if  he  stroked  it  three,  six,  etc.,  times. 

In    certain  individuals   there   was    found  a  still  odder 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO   OTHER  THINGS,      205 

phenomenon,  which  reminds  one  of  that  curious  idiosyncrasy 
of  '  colored  hearing '  of  which  a  few  cases  have  been  lately 
described  with  great  care  by  foreign  writers.  These  indi 
viduals,  namely,  saw  the  impression  received  by  the  hand, 
but  could  not  feel  it ;  and  the  thing  seen  appeared  by  no 
means  associated  with  the  hand,  but  more  like  an  indepen 
dent  vision,  which  usually  interested  and  surprised  the 
patient.  Her  hand  being  hidden  by  a  screen,  she  was 
ordered  to  look  at  another  screen  and  to  tell  of  any  visual 
image  which  might  project  itself  thereon.  Numbers  would 
then  come,  corresponding  to  the  number  of  times  the  in 
sensible  member  was  raised,  touched,  etc.  Colored  lines 
and  figures  would  come,  corresponding  to  similar  ones 
traced  on  the  palm  ;  the  hand  itself  or  its  fingers  would 
come  when  manipulated ;  and  finally  objects  placed  in  it 
would  come  ;  but  on  the  hand  itself  nothing  would  ever  be 
felt.  Of  course  simulation  would  not  be  hard  here;  but 
M.  Binet  disbelieves  this  (usually  very  shallow)  explanation 
to  be  a  probable  one  in  cases  in  question.* 

The  usual  way  in  which  doctors  measure  the  delicacy 
of  our  touch  is  by  the  compass-points.  Two  points  are 
normally  felt  as  one  whenever  they  are  too  close  together 
for  discrimination  ;  but  what  is  '  too  close  '  on  one  part  of 
the  skin  may  seem  very  far  apart  on  another.  In  the 
middle  of  the  back  or  on  the  thigh,  less  than  3  inches  may 
be  too  close  ;  on  the  finger-tip  a  tenth  of  an  inch  is  far 
enough  apart.  Now,  as  tested  in  this  way,  with  the  appeal 
made  to  the  primary  consciousness,  which  talks  through 
the  mouth  and  seems  to  hold  the  field  alone,  a  certain  per 
son's  skin  may  be  entirely  anaesthetic  and  not  feel  the  com 
pass-points  at  all ;  and  yet  this  same  skin  will  prove  to  have 
a  perfectly  normal  sensibility  if  the  appeal  be  made  to  that 
other  secondary  or  sub-consciousness,  which  expresses 
itself  automatically  by  writing  or  by  movements  of  the  hand. 
M.  Binet,  M.  Pierre  Janet,  and  M.  Jules  Janet  have  all  found 
this.  The  subject,  whenever  touched,  wonld  signify  'one 

*  This  whole  phenomenon  shows  how  an  idea  which  remains  itself  below 
the  threshold  of  a  certain  conscious  self  may  occasion  associative  effects 
therein.  The  skin-seusations  uufelt  by  the  patient's  primary  consciousness 
awaken  nevertheless  their  usual  visual  associates  therein. 


206  PSYCHOLOGY. 

point '  or  '  two  points/  as  accurately  as  if  she  were  a  nor< 
mal  person.  She  would  signify  it  only  by  these  movements ; 
and  of  the  movements  themselves  her  primary  self  would 
be  as  unconscious  as  of  the  facts  they  signified,  for  what  the 
submerged  consciousness  makes  the  hand  do  automatically 
is  unknown  to  the  consciousness  which  uses  the  mouth. 

Messrs.  Bernheim  and  Pitres  have  also  proved,  by  ob 
servations  too  complicated  to  be  given  in  this  spot, 
that  the  hysterical  blindness  is  no  real  blindness  at  all. 
The  eye  of  an  hysteric  which  is  totally  blind  when  the 
other  or  seeing  eye  is  shut,  will  do  its  share  of  vision  per 
fectly  well  when  both  eyes  are  open  together.  But  even 
where  both  eyes  are  semi-blind  from  hysterical  disease, 
the  method  of  automatic  writing  proves  that  their  percep 
tions  exist,  only  cut  off  from  communication  with  the  upper 
consciousness.  M.  Binet  has  found  the  hand  of  his  patients 
unconsciously  writing  down  words  which  their  eyes  were 
vainly  endeavoring  to  '  see,'  i.e.,  to  bring  to  the  upper  con 
sciousness.  Their  submerged  consciousness  was  of  course 
seeing  them,  or  the  hand  could  not  have  written  as  it  did. 
Colors  are  similarly  perceived  by  the  sub-conscious  self, 
which  the  hysterically  color-blind  eyes  cannot  bring  to  the 
normal  consciousness.  Pricks,  burns,  and  pinches  on  the 
anaesthetic  skin,  all  unnoticed  by  the  upper  self,  are  recol 
lected  to  have  been  suffered,  and  complained  of,  as  soon 
as  the  under  self  gets  a  chance  to  express  itself  by  the 
passage  of  the  subject  into  hypnotic  trance. 

It  must  be  admitted,  therefore,  that  in  certain  persons, 
at  least,  the  total  possible  consciousness  may  be  split  into 
parts  which  coexist  but  mutually  ignore  each  other,  and 
share  the  objects  of  knowledge  between  them.  More  re 
markable  still,  they  are  complementary.  Give  an  object 
to  one  of  the  consciousnesses,  and  by  that  fact  you  remove 
it  from  the  other  or  others.  Barring  a  certain  common 
fund  of  information,  like  the  command  of  language,  etc., 
what  the  upper  self  knows  the  under  self  is  ignorant  of, 
and  vice  versa.  M.  Janet  has  proved  this  beautifully  in  his 
subject  Lucie.  The  following  experiment  will  serve  as  the 
type  of  the  rest :  In  her  trance  he  covered  her  lap  with 
cards,  each  bearing  a  number.  He  then  told  her  that  OD 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS.      207 

waking  she  should  not  see  any  card  whose  number  was  a 
multiple  of  three.  This  is  the  ordinary  so-called  '  post- 
hypnotic  suggestion/  now  well  known,  and  for  which  Lucie 
was  a  well-adapted  subject.  Accordingly,  when  she  was 
awakened  and  asked  about  the  papers  on  her  lap,  she 
counted  and  said  she  saw  those  only  whose  number  was 
not  a  multiple  of  3.  To  the  12,  18,  9,  etc.,  she  was  blind. 
But  the  hand,  when  the  sub-conscious  self  was  interrogated 
by  the  usual  method  of  engrossing  the  upper  self  in  another 
conversation,  wrote  that  the  only  cards  in  Lucie's  lap  were 
those  numbered  12,  18,  9,  etc.,  and  on  being  asked  to  pick 
up  all  the  cards  which  were  there,  picked  up  these  and  let 
the  others  lie.  Similarly  when  the  sight  of  certain  things 
was  suggested  to  the  sub-conscious  Lucie,  the  normal 
Lucie  suddenly  became  partially  or  totally  blind.  "  What 
is  the  matter?  I  can't  see!"  the  normal  personage  sud 
denly  cried  out  in  the  midst  of  her  conversation,  when 
M.  Janet  whispered  to  the  secondary  personage  to  make 
use  of  her  eyes.  The  anaesthesias,  paralyses,  contractions 
and  other  irregularities  from  which  hysterics  suffer  seem 
then  to  be  clue  to  the  fact  that  their  secondary  personage 
has  enriched  itself  by  robbing  the  primary  one  of  a  func 
tion  which  the  latter  ought  to  have  retained.  The  curative 
indication  is  evident :  get  at  the  secondary  personage,  by 
Jiypnotization  or  in  whatever  other  way,  and  make  her  give 
up  the  eye,  the  skin,  the  arm,  or  whatever  the  affected  part 
may  be.  The  normal  self  thereupon  regains  possession,  sees, 
feels,  or  is  able  to  move  again.  In  this  way  M.  Jules  Janet 
easily  cured  the  well-known  subject  of  the  Salpetriere,  Wit., 
of  all  sorts  of  afflictions  which,  until  he  discovered  the 
secret  of  her  deeper  trance,  it  had  been  difficult  to  subdue. 
"  Cessez  cette  mauvaise  plaisanterie,"  he  said  to  the  sec 
ondary  self — and  the  latter  obeyed.  The  way  in  which  the 
various  personages  share  the  stock  of  possible  sensations 
between  them  seems  to  be  amusingly  illustrated  in  this 
young  woman.  When  awake,  her  skin  is  insensible  every 
where  except  on  a  zone  about  the  arm  where  she  habitually 
wears  a  gold  bracelet.  This  zone  has  feeling ;  but  in  the 
deepest  trance,  when  all  the  rest  of  her  body  feels,  this  par 
ticular  zone  becomes  absolutely  anaesthetic. 


208  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Sometimes  the  mutual  ignorance  of  the  selves  leads  to 
incidents  which  are  strange  enough.  The  acts  and  move 
ments  performed  by  the  sub- conscious  self  are  withdrawn 
from  the  conscious  one,  and  the  subject  will  do  all  sorts  of 
incongruous  things  of  which  he  remains  quite  unaware. 
"  I  order  Lucie  [by  the  method  of  distraction]  to  make  a 
pied  de  nez,  and  her  hands  go  forthwith  to  the  end  of  her 
nose.  Asked  what  she  is  doing,  she  replies  that  she  is 
doing  nothing,  and  continues  for  a  long  time  talking,  with 
no  apparent  suspicion  that  her  fingers  are  moving  in  front 
of  her  nose.  I  make  her  walk  about  the  room  ;  she  con 
tinues  to  speak  and  believes  herself  sitting  down." 

M.  Janet  observed  similar  acts  in  a  man  in  alcoholic 
delirium.  Whilst  the  doctor  was  questioning  him,  M.  J. 
made  him  by  whispered  suggestion  walk,  sit,  kneel,  and  even 
lie  down  on  his  face  on  the  floor,  he  all  the  while  believing 
himself  to  be  standing  beside  his  bed.  Such  bizarreries 
sound  incredible,  until  one  has  seen  their  like.  Long  ago, 
without  understanding  it,  I  myself  saw  a  small  example  of 
the  way  in  which  a  person's  knowledge  may  be  shared  by 
the  two  selves.  A  young  woman  who  had  been  writing 
automatically  was  sitting  with  a  pencil  in  her  hand,  trying  to 
recall  at  my  request  the  name  of  a  gentleman  whom  she  had 
once  seen.  She  could  only  recollect  the  first  syllable.  Her 
hand  meanwhile,  without  her  knowledge,  wrote  down  the 
last  two  syllables.  In  a  perfectly  healthy  young  man  who 
can  write  with  the  planchette,  I  lately  found  the  hand  to 
be  entirely  anaesthetic  during  the  writing  act ;  I  could  prick 
it  severely  without  the  Subject  knowing  the  fact.  The  writ 
ing  on  the  planchette,  however,  accused  me  in  strong  terms 
of  hurting  the  hand.  Pricks  on  the  other  (non-writing) 
hand,  meanwhile,  which  awakened  strong  protest  from  the 
young  man's  vocal  organs,  were  denied  to  exist  by  the  self 
which  made  the  planchette  go."x" 

We  get  exactly  similar  results  in  the  so-called  post-hyp 
notic  suggestion.  It  is  a  familiar  fact  that  certain  sub 
jects,  when  told  during  a  trance  to  perform  an  act  or  to 

*  See  Proceedings  of  American  Soc.   for  Psych.  Research,  vol.  I.  p. 
54S, 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO   OTHER  THINGS.      209 

experience  an  hallucination  after  waking,  will  when  the  time 
comes,  obey  the  command.  How  is  the  command  regis 
tered?  How  is  its  performance  so  accurately  timed? 
These  problems  were  long  a  mystery,  for  the  primary  per 
sonality  remembers  nothing  of  the  trance  or  the  suggestion, 
and  will  often  trump  up  an  improvised  pretext  for  yielding 
to  the  unaccountable  impulse  which  possesses  the  man  so 
suddenly  and  which  he  cannot  resist.  Edmund  Gurney 
was  the  first  to  discover,  by  means  of  automatic  writing,  that 
the  secondary  self  is  awake,  keeping  its  attention  con 
stantly  fixed  on  the  command  and  watching  for  the  signal 
of  its  execution.  Certain  trance-subjects  who  were  also 
automatic  writers,  when  roused  from  trance  and  put  to  the 
planchette, — not  knowing  then  what  they  wrote,  and  having 
their  upper  attention  fully  engrossed  by  reading  aloud,  talk 
ing,  or  solving  problems  in  mental  arithmetic, — would  in 
scribe  the  orders  which  they  had  received,  together  with 
notes  relative  to  the  time  elapsed  and  the  time  yet  to  run 
before  the  execution.  *  It  is  therefore  to  no  '  automatism  ' 
in  the  mechanical  sense  that  such  acts  are  due  :  a  self  pre 
sides  over  them,  a  split-off,  limited  and  buried,  but  yet  a 
fully  conscious,  self.  More  than  this,  the  buried  self  often 
comes  to  the  surface  and  drives  out  the  other  self  whilst 
the  acts  are  performing.  In  other  words,  the  subject 
lapses  into  trance  again  when  the  moment  arrives  for  exe 
cution,  and  has  no  subsequent  recollection  of  the  act  which 
he  has  done.  Gurney  and  Beaunis  established  this  fact, 
which  has  since  been  verified  on  a  large  scale ;  and  Gurney 
also  showed  that  the  patient  became  suggestible  again  during 
the  brief  time  of  the  performance.  M.  Janet's  observa 
tions,  in  their  turn,  well  illustrate  the  phenomenon. 

"  I  tell  I/ucie  to  keep  her  arms  raised  after  she  shall  have 
awakened.  Hardly  is  she  in  the  normal  state,  when  up  go  her  arms 
above  her  head,  but  she  pays  no  attention  to  them.  She  goes,  comes, 
converses,  holding  her  arms  high  in  the  air.  If  asked  what  her  arms 
are  doing,  she  is  surprised  at  such  a  question,  and  says  very  sincerely  : 
'My  hands  are  doing  nothing;  they  are  just  like  yours.'  ...  I  com- 


*  Proceedings  of  the  (London)  Soc.  for  Psych.  Research,  Hay,  1887,  p. 
268  ff. 


210  PSYCHOLOGY. 

mand  her  to  weep,  and  when  awake  she  really  sobs,  but  continues  ir 
the  rnidst  of  her  tears  to  talk  of  very  gay  matters.  The  sobbing  over, 
there  remained  no  trace  of  this  grief,  which  seemed  to  have  been  quite 
sub-conscious." 

The  primary  self  often  has  to  invent  an  hallucination  by 
which  to  mask  and  hide  from  its  own  view  the  deeds  which 
the  other  self  is  enacting.  Leonie  3  *  writes  real  letters 
whilst  Leonie  1  believes  that  she  is  knitting ;  or  Lucie 
really  comes  to  the  doctor's  office,  whilst  Lucie  1  believes 
herself  to  be  at  home.  This  is  a  sort  of  delirium.  The 
alphabet,  or  the  series  of  numbers,  when  handed  over  to 
the  attention  of  the  secondary  personage  may  for  the 
time  be  lost  to  the  normal  self.  Whilst  the  hand  writes 
the  alphabet,  obediently  to  command,  the  '  subject/  to 
her  great  stupefaction,  finds  herself  unable  to  recall  it,  etc. 
Few  things  are  more  curious  than  these  relations  of  mutual 
exclusion,  of  which  all  gradations  exist  between  the  several 
partial  consciousnesses. 

How  far  this  splitting  up  of  the  mind  into  separate  con 
sciousnesses  may  exist  in  each  one  of  us  is  a  problem.  M. 
Janet  holds  that  it  is  only  possible  where  there  is  abnormal 
weakness,  and  consequently  a  defect  of  unifying  or  co-or 
dinating  power.  An  hysterical  woman  abandons  part  of  her 
consciousness  because  she  is  too  weak  nervously  to  hold 
it  together.  The  abandoned  part,  meanwhile  may  solidify 
into  a  secondary  or  sub-conscious  self.  In  a  perfectly  sound 
subject,  on  the  other  hand,  what  is  dropped  out  of  mind  at 
one  moment  keeps  coming  back  at  the  next.  The  whole 
fund  of  experiences  and  knowledges  remains  integrated,  and 
no  split-off  portions  of  it  can  get  organized  stably  enough 
to  form  subordinate  selves.  The  stability,  monotony,  and 
stupidity  of  these  latter  is  often  very  striking.  The  post- 
hypnotic  sub-consciousness  seems  to  think  of  nothing  but 
the  order  which  it  last  received;  the  cataleptic  sub-con 
sciousness,  of  nothing  but  the  last  position  imprinted  on  the 
limb.  M.  Janet  could  cause  definitely  circumscribed  red 
dening  and  tumefaction  of  the  skin  on  two  of  his  subjects, 

*  M,  Janet  designates  by  numbers  the  different  personalities  which  the 
subject  may  display. 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS.     211 

by  suggesting  to  them  in  hypnotism  the  hallucination  of  a 
mustard-poultice  of  any  special  shape.  "J'ai  tout  le 
temps  pense  a  votre  sinapisme,"  says  the  subject,  when 
put  back  into  trance  after  the  suggestion  has  taken  effect. 
A  man  N.,  .  .  .  whom  M.  Janet  operated  on  at  long  in 
tervals,  was  betweenwhiles  tampered  with  by  another 
operator,  and  when  put  to  sleep  again  by  M.  Janet,  said  he 
was  '  too  far  away  to  receive  orders,  being  in  Algiers.' 
The  other  operator,  having  suggested  that  hallucination, 
had  forgotten  to  remove  it  before  waking  the  subject  from 
his  trance,  and  the  poor  passive  trance-personality  had 
stuck  for  weeks  in  the  stagnant  dream.  Leonie's  sub-con 
scious  performances  having  been  illustrated  to  a  caller,  by 
a  '  pied  de  nez '  executed  with  her  left  hand  in  the  course 
of  conversation,  when,  a  year  later,  she  meets  him  again, 
up  goes  the  same  hand  to  her  nose  again,  without  Leonie's 
normal  self  suspecting  the  fact. 

All  these  facts,  taken  together,  form  unquestionably  the 
beginning  of  an  inquiry  which  is  destined  to  throw  a  new 
light  into  the  very  abysses  of  our  nature.  It  is  for  that 
reason  that  I  have  cited  them  at  such  length  in  this  early 
chapter  of  the  book.  They  prove  one  thing  conclusively, 
namely,  that  we  must  never  take  a  person's  testimony,  hoiv- 
ever  sincere,  that  he  has  felt  nothing,  as  proof  positive  that 
no  feeling  has  been  there.  It  may  have  been  there  as  part  of 
the  consciousness  of  a  '  secondary  personage,'  of  whose  ex 
periences  the  primary  one  whom  we  are  consulting  can 
naturally  give  no  account.  In  hypnotic  subjects  (as  we 
shall  see  in  a  later  chapter)  just  as  it  is  the  easiest  thing  in 
the  world  to  paralyze  a  movement  or  member  by  simple 
suggestion,  so  it  is  easy  to  produce  what  is  called  a  system 
atized  anaesthesia  by  word  of  command.  A  systematized 
anaesthesia  means  an  insensibility,  not  to  any  one  element 
of  things,  but  to  some  one  concrete  thing  or  class  of  things. 
The  subject  is  made  blind  or  deaf  to  a  certain  person  in  the 
room  and  to  no  one  else,  and  thereupon  denies  that  that  per 
son  is  present,  or  has  spoken,  etc.  M.  P.  Janet's  Lucie,  blind 
Co  some  of  the  numbered  cards  in  her  lap  (p.  207  above),  is 
a  case  in  point.  Now  when  the  object  is  simple,  like  a  red 


212  PSYCHOLOGY. 

wafer  or  a  black  cross,  the  subject,  although  he  denies  that 
he  sees  it  when  he  looks  straight  at  it,  nevertheless  gets  a 
'  negative  after-image  '  of  it  when  he  looks  away  again, 
showing  that  the  optical,  impression  of  it  has  been  received. 
Moreover  reflection  shows  that  such  a  subject  must  dis 
tinguish  the  object  from  others  like  it  in  order  to  be  blind  to 
it.  Make  him  blind  to  one  person  in  the  room,  set  all 
the  persons  in  a  row,  and  tell  him  to  count  them.  He  will 
count  all  but  that  one.  But  how  can  he  tell  which  one  not 
to  count  without  recognizing  who  he  is  ?  In  like  manner, 
make  a  stroke  on  paper  or  blackboard,  and  tell  him  it  is 
not  there,  and  he  will  see  nothing  but  the  clean  paper  or 
board.  Next  (he  not  looking)  surround  the  original  stroke 
with  other  strokes  exactly  like  it,  and  ask  him  what  he 
sees.  He  will  point  out  one  by  one  all  the  new  strokes,  and 
omit  the  original  one  every  time,  no  matter  how  numerous 
the  new  strokes  may  be,  or  in  what  order  they  are 
arranged.  Similarly,  if  the  original  single  stroke  to  which 
he  is  blind  be  doubled  by  a  prism  of  some  sixteen  degrees 
placed  before  one  of  his  eyes  (both  being  kept  open),  he 
will  say  that  he  now  sees  one  stroke,  and  point  in  the  direc 
tion  in  which  the  image  seen  through  the  prism  lies,  ignor 
ing  still  the  original  stroke. 

Obviously,  then,  he  is  not  blind  to  the  kind  of  stroke  in 
the  least.  He  is  blind  only  to  one  individual  stroke  of  that 
kind  in  a  particular  position  on  the  board  or  paper — that 
is  to  a  particular  complex  object ;  and,  paradoxical  as  it 
may  seem  to  say  so,  he  must  distinguish  it  with  great  ac 
curacy  from  others  like  it,  in  order  to  remain  blind  to  it 
when  the  others  are  brought  near.  He  discriminates  it,  as 
a  preliminary  to  not  seeing  it  at  all. 

Again,  when  by  a  prism  before  one  eye  a  previously  in 
visible  line  has  been  made  visible  to  that  eye,  and  the  other 
eye  is  thereupon  closed  or  screened,  its  closure  makes  no 
difference  ;  the  line  still  remains  visible.  But  if  then  the 
prism  be  removed,  the  line  will  disappear  even  to  the  eye 
which  a  moment  ago  saw  it,  and  both  eyes  will  revert  to 
their  original  blind  state. 

We  have,  then,  to  deal  in  these  cases  neither  with  a  blind 
ness  of  the  eye  itself,  nor  with  a  mere  failure  to  notice,  but 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO   OTHER  THINGS      213 

with  something  much  more  complex ;  namely,  an  active 
counting  out  and  positive  exclusion  of  certain  objects.  It 
is  as  when  one  *  cuts '  an  acquaintance,  '  ignores  '  a  claim, 
or  *  refuses  to  be  influenced  '  by  a  consideration.  But  the 
perceptive  activity  which  works  to  this  result  is  discon 
nected  from  the  consciousness  which  is  personal,  so  to 
speak,  to  the  subject,  and  makes  of  the  object  concerning 
which  the  suggestion  is  made,  its  own  private  possession 
and  prey.* 

The  mother  who  is  asleep  to  every  sound  but  the  stir 
rings  of  her  babe,  evidently  has  the  babe-portion  of  her  au 
ditory  sensibility  systematically  awake.  ^Relatively  to  that, 
the  rest  of  her  mind  is  in  a  state  of  systematized  anaesthesia. 
That  department,  split  off  and  disconnected  from  the  sleep 
ing  part,  can  none  the  less  wake  the  latter  up  in  case  of 
need.  So  that  on  the  whole  the  quarrel  between  Des 
cartes  and  Locke  as  to  whether  the  mind  ever  sleeps  is  less 
near  to  solution  than  ever.  On  a  priori  speculative  grounds 
Locke's  view  that  thought  and  feeling  may  at  times  wholly 
disappear  seems  the  more  plausible.  As  glands  cease  to 
secrete  and  muscles  to  contract,  so  the  brain  should  some 
times  cease  to  carry  currents,  and  with  this  minimum  of  its 
activity  might  well  coexist  a  minimum  of  consciousness. 
On  the  other  hand,  we  see  how  deceptive  are  appearances, 
and  are  forced  to  admit  that  a  part  of  consciousness  may 
sever  its  connections  with  other  parts  and  yet  continue  to  be. 
On  the  whole  it  is  best  to  abstain  from  a  conclusion.  The 
science  of  the  near  future  will  doubtless  answer  this  ques 
tion  more  wisely  than  we  can  now. 


*  How  to  conceive  of  this  state  of  mind  is  not  easy.  It  would  be  much 
simpler  to  understand  the  process,  if  adding  new  strokes  made  the  first  one 
visible.  There  would  then  be  two  different  objects  apperceived  as  totals, 
— paper  with  one  stroke,  paper  with  many  strokes  ;  and,  blind  to  the  for 
mer,  he  would  see  all  that  was  in  the  latter,  because  he  would  have  apper 
ceived  it  as  a  different  total  in  the  first  instance. 

A  process  of  this  sort  occurs  sometimes  (not  always)  when  the  new 
strokes,  instead  of  being  mere  repetitions  of  the  original  one,  are  lines 
which  combine  with  it  into  a  total  object,  say  a  human  face.  The  sub 
ject  of  the  trance  then  may  regain  his  sight  of  the  line  to  which  he  had 
previously  been  blind,  by  seeing  it  as  part  of  the  face. 


214  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Let  us  turn  now  to  consider  the 

EOLATIONS    OF    CONSCIOUSNESS    TO    SPACE. 

This  is  the  problem  known  in  the  history  of  philoso 
phy  as  the  question  of  the  seat  of  the  soul.  It  has  given 
rise  to  much  literature,  but  we  must  ourselves  treat  it  very 
briefly.  Everything  depends  on  what  we  conceive  the  soul 
to  be,  an  extended  or  an  inextended  entity.  If  the  former, 
it  may  occupy  a  seat.  If  the  latter,  it  may  not ;  though  it 
has  been  thought  that  even  then  it  might  still  have  a  posi 
tion.  Much  hair-splitting  has  arisen  about  the  possibility 
of  an  inextended  thing  nevertheless  being  present  through 
out  a  certain  amount  of  extension.  We  must  distinguish 
the  kinds  of  presence.  In  some  manner  our  consciousness 
is  '  present '  to  everything  with  which  it  is  in  relation.  I  am 
cognitively  present  to  Orion  whenever  I  perceive  that  con 
stellation,  but  I  am  not  dynamically  present  there,  I  work 
no  effects.  To  my  brain,  however,  I  am  dynamically  present, 
inasmuch  as  my  thoughts  and  feelings  seem  to  react  upon 
the  processes  thereof.  If,  then,  by  the  seat  of  the  mind  is 
meant  nothing  more  than  the  locality  with  which  it  stands 
in  immediate  dynamic  relations,  we  are  certain  to  be 
right  in  saying  that  its  seat  is  somewhere  in  the  cortex  of 
the  brain.  Descartes,  as  is  well  known,  thought  that  the 
inextended  soul  was  immediately  present  to  the  pineal 
gland.  Others,  as  Lotze  in  his  earlier  days,  and  W.  Volk- 
mann,  think  its  position  must  be  at  some  point  of  the  struc 
tureless  matrix  of  the  anatomical  brain-elements,  at  which 
point  they  suppose  that  all  nerve-currents  may  cross  and 
combine.  The  scholastic  doctrine  is  that  the  soul  is  to 
tally  present,  both  in  the  whole  and  in  each  and  every  part 
of  the  body.  This  mode  of  presence  is  said  to  be  due  to 
the  soul's  inextended  nature  and  to  its  simplicity.  Two  ex 
tended  entities  could  only  correspond  in  space  with  one 
another,  part  to  part, — but  not  so  does  the  soul,  which  has 
no  parts,  correspond  with  the  body.  Sir  Wm.  Hamilton 
and  Professor  Bowen  defend  something  like  this  view.  I. 
H.  Fichte,  Ulrici,  and,  among  American  philosophers,  Mr, 
J.  E.  Walter,*  maintain  the  soul  to  be  a  space -filling  prin- 

*  Perception  of  Space  and  Matter,  1879,  part  n.  chap.  3 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO   OTHER  THINGS.      215 

ciple.  Ficlite  calls  it  the  inner  body,  Ulrici  likens  it  to  a 
fluid  of  non-molecular  composition.  These  theories  remind 
us  of  the  '  theosophic '  doctrines  of  the  present  day,  and 
carry  us  back  to  times  when  the  soul  as  vehicle  of  con 
sciousness  was  not  discriminated,  as  it  now  is,  from  the 
vital  principle  presiding  over  the  formation  of  the  body. 
Plato  gave  head,  breast,  and  abdomen  to  the  immortal  rea 
son,  the  courage,  and  the  appetites,  as  their  seats  respec 
tively.  Aristotle  argues  that  the  heart  is  the  sole  seat. 
Elsewhere  we  find  the  blood,  the  brain,  the  lungs,  the  liver 
the  kidneys  even,  in  turn  assigned  as  seat  of  the  whole  or 
part  of  the  soul.* 

The  truth  is  that  if  the  thinking  principle  is  extended  we 
neither  know  its  form  nor  its  seat ;  whilst  if  unextended,  it 
is  absurd  to  speak  of  its  having  any  space-relations  at  all. 
Space-relations  we  shall  see  hereafter  to  be  sensible  things. 
The  only  objects  that  can  have  mutual  relations  of  position 
are  objects  that  are  perceived  coexisting  in  the  same  felt 
space.  A  thing  not  perceived  at  all,  such  as  the  inextended 
soul  must  be,  cannot  coexist  with  any  perceived  objects  in 
this  way.  No  lines  can  be  felt  stretching  from  it  to  the 
other  objects.  It  can  form  no  terminus  to  any  space-inter 
val.  It  can  therefore  in  no  intelligible  sense  enjoy  position. 
Its  relations  cannot  be  spatial,  but  must  be  exclusively 
cognitive  or  dynamic,  as  we  have  seen.  So  far  as  they  are 
dynamic,  to  talk  of  the  soul  being  '  present '  is  only  a  figure 
of  speech.  Hamilton's  doctrine  that  the  soul  is  present  to 
the  whole  body  is  at  any  rate  false  :  for  cognitively  its  pres 
ence  extends  far  beyond  the  body,  and  dynamically  it  does 
not  extend  beyond  the  brain,  t 

*  For  a  very  good  condensed  history  of  the  various  opinions,  see  W. 
Volkmann  von  Volkmar,  Lehrbuch  d.  Psychologic,  §  16,  Anm.  Complete 
references  to  Sir  W.  Hamilton  are  given  in  J.  E.  Walter,  Perception  of 
Space  and  Matter,  pp.  65-6. 

f  Most  contemporary  writers  ignore  the  question  of  the  soul's  seat. 
Lotze  is  the  only  one  who  seems  to  have  been  much  concerned  about  it, 
and  his  views  have  varied.  Cf.  Medicinische  Psychol.,  §  10.  Microcos- 
mus,  bk.  in.  ch.  2.  Metaphysic,  bk.  in.  ch.  5.  Outlines  of  Psychol., 
part  n.  ch.  3.  See  also  ft-  T.  Fechner,  Psychophysik,  chap,  xxxvn. 


216  PSYCHOLOGY. 


THE  RELATIONS   OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  OBJECTS 

are  either  relations  to  other  minds,  or  to  material  things.  The 
material  things  are  either  the  mind's  own  brain,  on  the  one 
hand,  or  anything  else,  on  the  other.  The  relations  of  a 
mind  to  its  own  brain  are  of  a  unique  and  utterly  mysteri 
ous  sort ;  we  discussed  them  in  the  last  two  chapters,  and 
can  add  nothing  to  that  account. 

The  mind's  relations  to  other  objects  than  the  brain  are 
cognitive  and  emotional  relations  exclusively,  so  far  as  we 
know.  It  knows  them,  and  it  inwardly  welcomes  or  rejects 
them,  but  it  has  no  other  dealings  with  them.  When  it  seems 
to  act  upon  them,  it  only  does  so  through  the  intermediary 
of  its  own  body,  so  that  not  it  but  the  body  is  what  acts  on 
them,  and  the  brain  must  first  act  upon  the  body.  The 
same  is  true  when  other  things  seem  to  act  on  it — they  only 
act  on  the  body,  and  through  that  on  its  brain.*  All  that 
it  can  do  directly  is  to  know  other  things,  misknow  or 
ignore  them,  and  to  find  that  they  interest  it,  in  this  fashion 
or  in  that. 

Now  the  relation  of  knowing  is  the  most  mysterious  thing 
in  the  world.  If  we  ask  how  one  thing  can  know  another 
we  are  led  into  the  heart  of  Erkenntnisstheorie  and  metaphys 
ics.  The  psychologist,  for  his  part,  does  not  consider  the 
matter  so  curiously  as  this.  Finding  a  world  before  him 
which  he  cannot  but  believe  that  he  knows,  and  setting 
himself  to  study  his  own  past  thoughts,  or  someone  else's 
thoughts,  of  what  he  believes  to  be  that  same  world ;  he 
cannot  but  conclude  that  those  other  thoughts  know  it  after 
their  fashion  even  as  he  knows  it  after  his.  Knowledge  be 
comes  for  him  an  ultimate  relation  that  must  be  admitted, 
whether  it  be  explained  or  not,  just  like  difference  or  re 
semblance,  which  no  one  seeks  to  explain. 

Were  our  topic  Absolute  Mind  instead  of  being  the  con 
crete  minds  of  individuals  dwelling  in  the  natural  world, 
we  could  not  tell  whether  that  Mind  had  the  function  of 
knowing  or  not,  as  knowing  is  commonly  understood.  We 

*  I  purposely  ignore  'clairvoyance'  and  action  upon  distant  things  b? 
'mediums,'  as  not  yet  matters  of  common  consent. 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO   OTHER  THINGS.     217 

might  learn  the  complexion  of  its  thoughts  ;  but,  as  we 
should  have  no  realities  outside  of  it  to  compare  them  with, 
— for  if  we  had,  the  Mind  would  not  be  Absolute, — we  could 
not  criticise  them,  and  find  them  either  right  or  wrong ;  and 
we  should  have  to  call  them  simply  the  thoughts,  and  not 
the  knowledge,  of  the  Absolute  Mind.  Finite  minds,  how 
ever,  can  be  judged  in  a  different  way,  because  the  psychol 
ogist  himself  can  go  bail  for  the  independent  reality  of  the 
objects  of  which  they  think.  He  knows  these  to  exist  out 
side  as  well  as  inside  the  minds  in  question  ;  he  thus  knows 
whether  the  minds  think  and  knoiv,  or  only  think ;  and 
though  his  knowledge  is  of  course  that  of  a  fallible  mortal, 
uhere  is  nothing  in  the  conditions  that  should  make  it  more 
likely  to  be  wrong  in  this  case  than  in  any  other. 

Now  by  what  tests  does  the  psychologist  decide  whether 
the  state  of  mind  he  is  studying  is  a  bit  of  knowledge,  or 
only  a  subjective  fact  not  referring  to  anything  outside 
itself? 

He  uses  the  tests  we  all  practically  use.  If  the  state  of 
mind  resembles  his  own  idea  of  a  certain  reality  ;  or  if  without 
resembling  his  idea  of  it,  it  seems  to  imply  that  reality  and 
refer  to  it  by  operating  upon  it  through  the  bodily  organs ; 
or  even  if  it  resembles  and  operates  on  some  other  reality 
that  implies,  and  leads  up  to,  and  terminates  in,  the  first 
one, — in  either  or  all  of  these  cases  the  psychologist  admits 
that  the  state  of  mind  takes  cognizance,  directly  or  remotely, 
distinctly  or  vaguely,  truly  or  falsely,  of  the  reality's  nature 
and  position  in  the  world.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  the 
mental  state  under  examination  neither  resembles  nor  oper 
ates  on  any  of  the  realities  known  to  the  psychologist,  he  calls 
it  a  subjective  state  pure  and  simple,  possessed  of  no  cog 
nitive  worth.  If,  again,  it  resemble  a  reality  or  a  set  of 
realities  as  he  knows  them,  but  altogether  fail  to  operate 
on  them  or  modify  their  course  by  producing  bodily  motions 
which  the  psychologist  sees,  then  the  psychologist,  like  all 
of  us,  may  be  in  doubt.  Let  the  mental  state,  for  example, 
occur  during  the  sleep  of  its  subject.  Let  the  latter  dream 
of  the  death  of  a  certain  man,  and  let  the  man  simulta 
neously  die.  Is  the  dream  a  mere  coincidence,  or  a  veri 
table  cognition  of  the  death  ?  Such  puzzling  cases  are 


218  PSYCHOLOGY. 

what  the    Societies  for  '  Psychical  Research '  are  collect- 
ing  and  trying  to  interpret  in  the  most  reasonable  way. 

If  the  dream  were  the  only  one  of  the  kind  the  subject 
ever  had  in  his  life,  if  the  context  of  the  death  in  the  dream 
differed  in  many  particulars  from  the  real  death's  context, 
and  if  the  dream  led  to  no  action  about  the  death,  unques 
tionably  we  should  all  call  it  a  strange  coincidence,  and 
naught  besides.  But  if  the  death  in  the  dream  had  a  long 
context,  agreeing  point  for  point  with  every  feature  that 
attended  the  real  death ;  if  the  subject  were  constantly 
having  such  dreams,  all  equally  perfect,  and  if  on  awaking 
he  had  a  habit  of  acting  immediately  as  if  they  were  true 
and  so  getting  'the  start'  of  his  more  tardily  informed 
neighbors, — we  should  probably  all  have  to  admit  that  he 
had  some  mysterious  kind  of  clairvoyant  power,  that  his 
dreams  in  an  inscrutable  way  knew  just  those  realities 
which  they  figured,  and  that  the  word  *  coincidence '  failed 
to  touch  the  root  of  the  matter.  And  whatever  doubts  any 
one  preserved  would  completely  vanish  if  it  should  appear 
that  from  the  midst  of  his  dream  he  had  the  power  of  inter 
fering  with  the  course  of  the  reality,  and  making  the  events 
in  it  turn  this  way  or  that,  according  as  he  dreamed  they 
should.  Then  at  least  it  would  be  certain  that  he  and  the 
psychologist  were  dealing  with  the  same.  It  is  by  such 
tests  as  these  that  we  are  convinced  that  the  waking  minds 
of  our  fellows  and  our  own  minds  know  the  same  external 
world. 

The  psychologist's  attitude  toivards  cognition  will  be  so 
important  in  the  sequel  that  we  must  not  leave  it  until  it  is 
made  perfectly  clear.  It  is  a  thoroughgoing  dualism.  It 
supposes  two  elements,  mind  knowing  and  thing  known,  and 
treats  them  as  irreducible.  Neither  gets  out  of  itself  or 
into  the  other,  neither  in  any  way  is  the  other,  neither 
makes  the  other.  They  just  stand  face  to  face  in  a  common 
woild,  and  one  simply  knows,  or  is  known  unto,  its  counter 
part.  This  singular  relation  is  not  to  be  expressed  in  any 
lower  terms,  or  translated  into  any  more  intelligible  name. 
Some  sort  of  signal  must  be  given  by  the  thing  to  the  mind's 
brain,  or  the  knowing  will  not  occur — we  find  as  a  matter 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS.     219 

of  fact  that  the  mere  existence  of  a  thing  outside  the  brain 
is  not  a  sufficient  cause  for  our  knowing  it :  it  must  strike 
the  brain  in  some  way,  as  well  as  be  there,  to  be  known. 
But  the  brain  being  struck,  the  knowledge  is  constituted 
by  a  new  construction  that  occurs  altogether  in  the  mind. 
The  thing  remains  the  same  whether  known  or  not.*  And 
when  once  there,  the  knowledge  may  remain  there,  what 
ever  becomes  of  the  thing. 

By  the  ancients,  and  by  unreflecting  people  perhaps  to 
day,  knowledge  is  explained  as  the  passage  of  something 
from  without  into  the  mind — the  latter,  so  far,  at  least,  as 
its  sensible  affections  go,  being  passive  and  receptive. 
But  even  in  mere  sense-impression  the  duplication  of  the 
object  by  an  inner  construction  must  take  place.  Consider, 
with  Professor  Bowne,  what  happens  when  two  people  con 
verse  together  and  know  each  other's  mind. 

"  No  thoughts  leave  the  mind  of  one  and  cross  into  the  mind  of  the 
other.  When  we  speak  of  an  exchange  of  thought,  even  the  crudest 
mind  knows  that  this  is  a  mere  figure  of  speech.  ...  To  perceive 
another's  thought,  we  must  construct  his  thought  within  ourselves;  .  .  . 
this  thought  is  our  own  and  is  strictly  original  with  us.  At  the  same 
time  we  owe  it  to  the  other ;  and  if  it  had  not  originated  with  him,  it 
would  probably  not  have  originated  with  us.  But  what  has  the  other 
done  ?  .  .  .  This  :  by  an  entirely  mysterious  world-order,  the  speaker 
is  enabled  to  produce  a  series  of  signs  which  are  totally  unlike  [the] 
thought,  but  which,  by  virtue  of  the  same  mysterious  order,  act  as  a 
series  of  incitements  upon  the  hearer,  so  that  he  constructs  within 
himself  the  corresponding  mental  state.  The  act  of  the  speaker  consists 
in  availing  himself  of  the  proper  incitements.  The  act  of  the  hearer  is 
immediately  only  the  reaction  of  the  soul  against  the  incitement.  .  .  . 
All  communion  between  finite  minds  is  of  this  sort.  .  .  .  Probably  no 
reflecting  person  would  deny  this  conclusion,  but  when  we  say  that 
what  is  thus  true  of  perception  of  another's  thought  is  equally  true  of 
the  perception  of  the  outer  world  in  general,  many  minds  will  be 
disposed  to  question,  and  not  a  few  will  deny  it  outright.  Yet  there  is 
no  alternative  but  to  affirm  that  to  perceive  the  universe  we  must 
construct  it  in  thought,  and  that  our  knowledge  of  the  universe  is  but 
the  unfolding  of  the  mind's  inner  nature.  .  .  .  By  describing  the  mind 
as  a  waxen  tablet,  and  things  as  impressing  themselves  upon  it,  we 
seem  to  get  great  insight  until  we  think  to  ask  where  this  extended 
tablet  is,  and  how  things  stamp  themselves  on  it,  and  how  the  percep- 

*  I  disregard  consequences  which  may  later  come  to  the  thing  from  the 
f*M*t  that  it  is  known.  The  knowing  per  se  in  no  wise  affects  the  thing. 


220  PSYCHOLOGY. 

tive  act  would  be  explained  even  if  they  did.  .  .  .  The  immediate 
antecedents  of  sensation  and  perception  are  a  series  of  nervous  changes 
in  the  brain.  Whatever  we  know  of  the  outer  world  is  revealed  only 
in  and  through  these  nervous  changes.  But  these  are  totally  unlike 
the  objects  assumed  to  exist  as  their  causes.  If  we  might  conceive  the 
mind  as  in  the  light,  and  in  direct  contact  with  its  objects,  the 
imagination  at  least  would  be  comforted ;  but  when  we  conceive  the 
mind  as  coming  in  contact  with  the  outer  world  only  in  the  dark 
chamber  of  the  skull,  and  then  not  in  contact  with  the  objects  per 
ceived,  but  only  with  a  series  of  nerve -changes  of  which,  moreover,  it 
knows  nothing,  it  is  plain  that  the  object  is  a  long  way  off.  All  talk 
of  pictures,  impressions,  etc.,  ceases  because  of  the  lack  of  all  the 
conditions  to  give  such  figures  any  meaning.  It  is  not  even  clear  that 
we  shall  ever  find  our  way  out  of  the  darkness  into  the  world  of  light 
and  reality  again.  We  begin  with  complete  trust  in  physics  and  the 
senses,  and  are  forthwith  led  away  from  the  object  into  a  nervous 
labyrinth,  where  the  object  is  entirely  displaced  by  a  set  of  nervous 
changes  which  are  totally  unlike  anything  but  themselves.  Finally, 
we  land  in  the  dark  chamber  of  the  skull.  The  object  has  gone  com 
pletely,  and  knowledge  has  not  yet  appeared.  Nervous  signs  are  the 
raw  material  of  all  knowledge  of  the  outer  world  according  to  the  most 
decided  realism.  But  in  order  to  pass  beyond  these  signs  into  a 
knowledge  of  the  outer  world,  we  must  posit  an  interpreter  who  shall 
read  back  these  signs  into  their  objective  meaning.  But  that  inter 
preter,  again,  must  implicitly  contain  the  meaning  of  the  universe 
within  itself;  and  these  signs  are  really  but  excitations  which  cause  the 
soul  to  unfold  what  is  within  itself.  Inasmuch  as  by  common  consent 
the  soul  communicates  with  the  outer  world  only  through  these  signs, 
and  never  comes  nearer  to  the  object  than  such  signs  can  bring  it,  it 
follows  that  the  principles  of  interpretation  must  be  in  the  mind  itself, 
and  that  the  resulting  construction  is  primarily  only  an  expression  of  the 
mind's  own  nature.  All  reaction  is  of  this  sort;  it  expresses  the  nature 
of  the  reacting  agent,  and  knowledge  comes  under  the  same  head, 
this  fact  makes  it  necessary  for  us  either  to  admit  a  pre-established 
harmony  between  the  laws  and  nature  of  thought  and  the  laws  and 
nature  of  things,  or  else  to  allow  that  the  objects  of  perception,  the 
universe  as  it  appears,  are  purely  phenomenal,  being  but  the  way  in 
which  the  mind  reacts  against  the  ground  of  its  sensations."  * 

The  dualism  of  Object  and  Subject  and  their  pre-estab 
lished  harmony  are  what  the  psychologist  as  such  must 
assume,  whatever  ulterior  monistic  philosophy  he  may,  as 
an  individual  who  has  the  right  also  to  be  a  metaphysician, 
have  in  reserve.  I  hope  that  this  general  point  is  now 

*  B.  P.  Bowne:    Metaphysics,    pp.  407-10.     Of.     also    Lotze:  Logik, 
§§  308,  326-7. 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS.     221 

made  clear,  so  that  we  may  leave  it,  and  descend  to  some 
distinctions  of  detail. 

There  are  two  kinds  of  knowledge  broadly  and  practically 
distinguishable :  we  may  call  them  respectively  knowledge 
of  acquaintance  and  knowledge-dbout.  Most  languages  ex 
press  the  distinction;  thus,  yrtiorai,  eidevai\  noscere,  scire; 
kennen,  ivissen;  connaitre,  savoir.*  I  am  acquainted  with 
many  people  and  things,  which  I  know  very  little  about, 
except  their  presence  in  the  places  where  I  have  met  them. 
I  know  the  color  blue  when  I  see  it,  and  the  flavor  of  a 
pear  when  I  taste  it ;  I  know  an  inch  when  I  move  my 
finger  through  it ;  a  second  of  time,  when  I  feel  it  pass ; 
an  effort  of  attention  when  I  make  it ;  a  difference  between 
two  things  when  I  notice  it ;  but  about  the  inner  nature  of 
these  facts  or  what  makes  them  what  they  are,  I  can  say 
nothing  at  all.  I  cannot  impart  acquaintance  with  them 
to  any  one  who  has  not  already  made  it  himself.  I  cannot 
describe  them,  make  a  blind  man  guess  what  blue  is  like, 
define  to  a  child  a  syllogism,  or  tell  a  philosopher  in  just 
what  respect  distance  is  just  what  it  is,  and  differs  from 
other  forms  of  relation.  At  most,  I  can  say  to  my  friends, 
Go  to  certain  places  and  act  in  certain  ways,  and  these 
objects  will  probably  come.  All  the  elementary  natures  of 
the  world,  its  highest  genera,  the  simple  qualities  of  matter 
and  mind,  together  with  the  kinds  of  relation  that  subsist 
between  them,  must  either  not  be  known  at  all,  or  known 
in  this  dumb  way  of  acquaintance  without  knowledge-about. 
In  minds  able  to  speak  at  all  there  is,  it  is  true,  some  knowl 
edge  about  everything.  Things  can  at  least  be  classed,  and 
the  times  of  their  appearance  told.  But  in  general,  the  less 
we  analyze  a  thing,  and  the  fewer  of  its  relations  we  per 
ceive,  the  less  we  know  about  it  and  the  more  our  famili 
arity  with  it  is  of  the  acquaintance-type.  The  two  kinds 
of  knowledge  are,  therefore,  as  the  human  mind  practi 
cally  exerts  them,  relative  terms.  That  is,  the  same  thought 
of  a  thing  may  be  called  knowledge-about  it  in  comparison 
with  a  simpler  thought,  or  acquaintance  with  it  in  compari- 

*  Of.    John  Grote  :    Explorutio   Philosophica,  p.    60 ;   H.    Helmholtz, 
Popular  Scientific  Lectures,  London,  p.  308-9. 


222  PSYCHOLOGY. 

son  with  a  thought  of  it  that  is  more  articulate  and  explicit 
still. 

The  grammatical  sentence  expresses  this.  Its  '  subject* 
stands  for  an  object  of  acquaintance  which,  by  the  addition 
of  the  predicate,  is  to  get  something  known  about  it.  We 
may  already  know  a  good  deal,  when  we  hear  the  subject 
named — its  name  may  have  rich  connotations.  But,  know 
we  much  or  little  then,  we  know  more  still  when  the  sen 
tence  is  done.  We  can  relapse  at  will  into  a  mere  condi 
tion  of  acquaintance  with  an  object  by  scattering  our 
attention  and  staring  at  it  in  a  vacuous  trance-like  way. 
We  can  ascend  to  knowledge  about  it  by  rallying  our  wits 
and  proceeding  to  notice  and  analyze  and  think.  What  we 
are  only  acquainted  with  is  only  present  to  our  minds  ;  we 
have  it,  or  the  idea  of  it.  But  when  we  know  about  it,  we 
do  more  than  merely  have  it ;  we  seem,  as  we  think  over  its 
relations,  to  subject  it  to  a  sort  of  treatment  and  to  operate 
upon  it  with  our  thought.  The  words  feeling  and  thought 
give  voice  to  the  antithesis.  Through  feelings  we  become 
acquainted  with  things,  but  only  by  our  thoughts  do  we 
know  about  them.  Feelings  are  the  germ  and  starting 
point  of  cognition,  thoughts  the  developed  tree.  The  mini 
mum  of  grammatical  subject,  of  objective  presence,  of  reality 
known  about,  the  mere  beginning  of  knowledge,  must  be 
named  by  the  word  that  says  the  least.  Such  a  word  is  the 
interjection,  as  lo !  there!  eccoj  voild !  or  the  article  or 
demonstrative  pronoun  introducing  the  sentence,  as  the,  it, 
that.  In  Chapter  XII  we  shall  see  a  little  deeper  into  what 
this  distinction,  between  the  mere  mental  having  or  feeling 
of  an  object  and  the  thinking  of  it,  portends. 

The  mental  states  usually  distinguished  as  feelings  are 
the  emotions,  and  the  sensations  we  get  from  skin,  muscle, 
viscus,  eye,  ear,  nose,  and  palate.  The  'thoughts,'  as 
recognized  in  popular  parlance,  are  the  conceptions  and 
judgments.  When  we  treat  of  these  mental  states  in  par 
ticular  we  shall  have  to  say  a  word  about  the  cognitive 
function  and  value  of  each.  It  may  perhaps  be  well  to 
notice  now  that  our  senses  only  give  us  acquaintance  with 
facts  of  body,  and  that  of  the  mental  states  of  other  persons 


THE  RELATIONS  OF  MINDS  TO  OTHER  THINGS.      223 

we  only  have  conceptual  knowledge.  Of  our  own  past 
states  of  mind  we  take  cognizance  in  a  peculiar  way.  They 
are  '  objects  of  memory,'  and  appear  to  us  endowed  with 
a  sort  of  warmth  and  intimacy  that  makes  the  perception 
of  them  seem  more  like  a  process  of  sensation  than  like  a 
thought. 


CHAPTER   IX.* 
THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT. 

WE  now  begin  our  study  of  the  mind  from  within.  Most 
books  start  with  sensations,  as  the  simplest  mental  facts, 
and  proceed  synthetically,  constructing  each  higher  stage 
from  those  below  it.  But  this  is  abandoning  the  empirical 
method  of  investigation.  No  one  ever  had  a  simple  sensa 
tion  by  itself.  Consciousness,  from  our  natal  day,  is  of  a 
teeming  multiplicity  of  objects  and  relations,  and  what  we 
call  simple  sensations  are  results  of  discriminative  atten 
tion,  pushed  often  to  a  very  high  degree.  It  is  astonishing 
what  havoc  is  wrought  in  psychology  by  admitting  at  the 
outset  apparently  innocent  suppositions,  that  nevertheless 
contain  a  flaw.  The  bad  consequences  develop  themselves 
later  on,  and  are  irremediable,  being  woven  through  the 
whole  texture  of  the  work.  The  notion  that  sensations, 
being  the  simplest  things,  are  the  first  things  to  take  up  in 
psychology  is  one  of  these  suppositions.  The  only  thing 
which  psychology  has  a  right  to  postulate  at  the  outset  is 
the  fact  of  thinking  itself,  and  that  must  first  be  taken  up 
and  analyzed.  If  sensations  then  prove  to  be  amongst  the 
elements  of  the  thinking,  we  shall  be  no  worse  off  as  re 
spects  them  than  if  we  had  taken  them  for  granted  at  the 
start. 

The  first  fact  for  us,  then,  as  psychologists,  is  that  thinking 
of  some  sort  goes  on.  I  use  the  word  thinking,  in  accordance 
with  what  was  said  on  p.  186,  for  every  form  of  conscious 
ness  indiscriminately.  If  we  could  say  in  English  'it 
thinks,'  as  we  say  ' it  rains '  or  'it  blows,'  we  should  be 

*  A  good  deal  of  this  chapter  is  reprinted  from  an  article  'On  some 
Omissions  of  Introspective  Psychology  '  which  appeared  in  '  Mind '  foi 
January  1884. 

324 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  225 

stating  tlio  fact  most  simply  and  with  the  minimum  of  as 
sumption.  As  we  cannot,  we  must  simply  say  that  thought 
goes  on. 

FIVE  CHAKACTEES  IN  THOUGHT. 

How  does  it  go  on  ?  We  notice  immediately  five  impor 
tant  characters  in  the  process,  of  which  it  shall  be  the  dutj 
of  the  present  chapter  to  treat  in  a  general  way  : 

1)  Every  thought  tends  to  be  part  of  a  personal  con 
sciousness. 

2)  Within  each  personal  consciousness  thought  is  always 
changing. 

3)  Within  each  personal  consciousness  thought  is  sen 
sibly  continuous. 

4)  It  always  appears  to  deal  with  objects  independent 
of  itself. 

5)  It  is  interested  in  some  parts  of  these  objects  to  the* 
exclusion  of  others,  and  welcomes  or  rejects — chooses  from 
among  them,  in  a  word — all  the  while. 

In  considering  these  five  points  successively,  we  shall 
have  to  plunge  in  medias  res  as  regards  our  vocabulary,  and 
use  psychological  terms  which  can  only  be  adequately  de 
fined  in  later  chapters  of  the  book.  But  every  one  knows 
what  the  terms  mean  in  a  rough  way  ;  and  it  is  only  in  a 
rough  way  that  we  are  now  to  take  them.  This  chapter  is 
like  a  painter's  first  charcoal  sketch  upon  his  canvas,  in 
which  no  niceties  appear. 

1)   Thought  tends  to  Personal  Form. 

When  I  say  every  thought  is  part  of  a  personal  con 
sciousness,  l  personal  consciousness '  is  one  of  the  terms  in 
question.  Its  meaning  we  know  so  long  as  no  one  asks  us 
to  define  it,  but  to  give  an  accurate  account  of  it  is  the  most 
difficult  of  philosophic  tasks.  This  task  we  must  confront 
in  the  next  chapter ;  here  a  preliminary  word  will  suffice. 

In  this  room — this  lecture-room,  say — there  are  a  mul 
titude  of  thoughts,  yours  and  mine,  some  of  which  cohere 
mutually,  and  some  not.  They  are  as  little  each-for-itself 
and  reciprocally  independent  as  they  are  all-belonging- 
together.  They  are  neither :  no  one  of  them  is  separate, 


226  PSYCHOLOGY. 

but  each  belongs  with  certain  others  and  with  none  beside. 
My  thought  belongs  with  my  other  thoughts,  and  your 
thought  with  your  other  thoughts.  Whether  anywhere  in 
the  room  there  be  a  mere  thought,  which  is  nobody's 
thought,  we  have  no  means  of  ascertaining,  for  we  have  no 
experience  of  its  like.  The  only  states  of  consciousness 
that  we  naturally  deal  with  are  found  in  personal  con 
sciousnesses,  minds,  selves,  concrete  particular  I's  and 
you's. 

Each  of  these  minds  keeps  its  own  thoughts  to  itself. 
There  is  no  giving  or  bartering  between  them.  No  thought 
even  comes  into  direct  sight  of  a  thought  in  another  per 
sonal  consciousness  than  its  own.  Absolute  insulation, 
irreducible  pluralism,  is  the  law.  It  seems  as  if  the  ele 
mentary  psychic  fact  were  not  thought  or  this  thought  or  that 
thought,  but  my  thought,  every  thought  being  oivned.  Neither 
contemporaneity,  nor  proximity  in  space,  nor  similarity  of 
quality  and  content  are  able  to  fuse  thoughts  together 
which  are  sundered  by  this  barrier  of  belonging  to  differ 
ent  personal  minds.  The  breaches  between  such  thoughts 
are  the  most  absolute  breaches  in  nature.  Everyone  wil? 
recognize  this  to  be  true,  so  long  as  the  existence  of  some 
thing  corresponding  to  the  term  '  personal  mind '  is  all  that 
is  insisted  on,  without  any  particular  view  of  its  nature 
being  implied.  On  these  terms  the  personal  self  rather 
than  the  thought  might  be  treated  as  the  immediate  datum 
in  psychology.  The  universal  conscious  fact  is  not  '  feel 
ings  and  thoughts  exist,'  but  'I  think'  and  'I  feel.'  *  No 
psychology,  at  any  rate,  can  question  the  existence  of  per 
sonal  selves.  The  worst  a  psychology  can  do  is  so  to 
interpret  the  nature  of  these  selves  as  to  rob  them  of  their 
worth.  A  French  writer,  speaking  of  our  ideas,  says  some 
where  in  a  fit  of  anti-spiritualistic  excitement  that,  mislej 
by  certain  peculiaritities  which  they  display,  we  '  end  by 
personifying'  the  procession  which  they  make, — such  per 
sonification  being  regarded  by  him  as  a  great  philosophic 
blunder  on  our  part.  It  could  only  be  a  blunder  if  the 
notion  of  personality  meant  something  essentially  different 

*  B.  P.  Bowne :  Metaphysics,  p.  362. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  227 

from  anything  to  be  found  in  the  mental  procession.  But  if 
that  procession  be  itself  the  very  '  original '  of  the  notion  of 
personality,  to  personify  it  cannot  possibly  be  wrong.  It  is 
already  personified.  There  are  no  marks  of  personality  to 
be  gathered  aliunde,  and  then  found  lacking  in  the  train  of 
thought.  It  has  them  all  already ;  so  that  to  whatever 
farther  analysis  we  may  subject  that  form  of  personal  self 
hood  under  which  thoughts  appear,  it  is,  and  must  remain, 
true  that  the  thoughts  which  psychology  studies  do  contin 
ually  tend  to  appear  as  parts  of  personal  selves. 

I  say  '  tend  to  appear'  rather  than  'appear,'  on  account 
of  those  facts  of  sub- conscious  personality,  automatic  writ 
ing,  etc.,  of  which  we  studied  a  few  in  the  last  chapter. 
The  buried  feelings  and  thoughts  proved  now  to  exist  in 
hysterical  anaesthetics,  in  recipients  of  post-hypnotic  sug 
gestion,  ttc.,  themselves  are  parts  of  secondary  personal 
selves.  These  selves  are  for  the  most  part  very  stupid  and 
contracted,  and  are  cut  off  at  ordinary  times  from  commu 
nication  with  the  regular  and  normal  self  of  the  individual ; 
but  still  they  form  conscious  unities,  have  continuous  mem 
ories,  speak,  write,  invent  distinct  names  for  themselves,  or 
adopt  names  that  are  suggested  ;  and,  in  short,  are  entirely 
worthy  of  that  title  of  secondary  personalities  which  is  now 
commonly  given  them.  According  to  M.  Janet  these  second 
ary  personalities  are  always  abnormal,  and  result  from  the 
splitting  of  what  ought  to  be  a  single  complete  self  into  two 
parts,  of  which  one  lurks  in  the  background  whilst  the  other 
appears  on  the  surface  as  the  only  self  the  man  or  woman 
has.  For  our  present  purpose  it  is  unimportant  whether 
this  account  of  the  origin  of  secondary  selves  is  applicable 
to  all  possible  cases  of  them  or  not,  for  it  certainly  is  true 
of  a  large  number  of  them.  Now  although  the  size  of  a 
secondary  self  thus  formed  will  depend  on  the  number  of 
thoughts  that  are  thus  split-off  from  the  main  conscious 
ness,  the  form  of  it  tends  to  personality,  and  the  later 
thoughts  pertaining  to  it  remember  the  earlier  ones  and 
adopt  them  as  their  own.  M.  Janet  caught  the  actual  mo 
ment  of  inspissation  (so  to  speak)  of  one  of  these  secondary 
personalities  in  his  anaesthetic  somnambulist  Lucie.  He 
found  that  when  this  young  woman's  attention  was  absorbed 


228  PSYCHOLOGY, 

in  conversation  with  a  third  party,  her  anaesthetic  hand 
would  write  simple  answers  to  questions  whispered  to  her  by 
himself.  "  Do  you  hear  ?"  he  asked.  "  No"  was  the  uncon 
sciously  written  reply.  "But  to  answer  you  must  hear." 
"  Yes,  quite  so."  "Then  how  do  you  manage?"  "  I  don't 
knoiu"  "  There  must  be  some  one  who  hears  me."  "  Yes." 
"  Who  ?"  "  Someone  other  them  Lucie."  "  Ah  !  another  per 
son.  Shall  we  give  her  a  name?"  "No."  "Yes,  it  will 
be  more  convenient."  "  Well,  Adrienne,  then."  "  Once  bap< 
tized,  the  subconscious  personage,"  M.  Janet  continues* 
"  grows  more  definitely  outlined  and  displays  better  her 
psychological  characters.  In  particular  she  shows  us  that 
she  is  conscious  of  the  feelings  excluded  from  the  conscious 
ness  of  the  primary  or  normal  personage.  She  it  is  who 
tells  us  that  I  am  pinching  the  arm  or  touching  the  little 
linger  in  which  Lucie  for  so  long  has  had  no  tactile  sensa 
tions."  * 

In  other  cases  the  adoption  of  the  name  by  the  second 
ary  self  is  more  spontaneous.  I  have  seen  a  number  of 
incipient  automatic  writers  and  mediums  as  yet  imperfectly 
*  developed,'  who  immediately  and  of  their  own  accord 
write  and  speak  in  the  name  of  departed  spirits.  These 
may  be  public  characters,  as  Mozart,  Faraday,  or  real  per 
sons  formerly  known  to  the  subject,  or  altogether  imagi 
nary  beings.  Without  prejudicing  the  question  of  real 
1  spirit- control '  in  the  more  developed  sorts  of  trance- 
utterance,  I  incline  to  think  that  these  (often  deplorably 
unintelligent)  rudimentary  utterances  are  the  work  of  an 
inferior  fraction  of  the  subject's  own  natural  mind,  set  free 
from  control  by  the  rest,  and  working  after  a  set  pattern 
fixed  by  the  prejudices  of  the  social  environment.  In  a 
spiritualistic  community  we  get  optimistic  messages,  whilst 
in  an  ignorant  Catholic  village  the  secondary  personage 
calls  itself  by  the  name  of  a  demon,  and  proffers  blas 
phemies  and  obscenities,  instead  of  telling  us  how  happy  it 
is  in  the  summer-land. f 

*  L'  Automatisme  Psychologique,  p.  318. 

f  Cf.  A.  Constaus  :  Relation  sur  uue  Epidemic  d'hyslero-demonopathie 
en  1861.  2rne  ed.  Paris,  1863.— Chiap  e  Franzolini:  L'Epidemia  d'istero- 
demonopatie  in  Verzegnis.  Reggio,  1879. — See  also  J.  Kernel's  little 
work  :  Nachricht  von  dem  Vorkornmen  des  Besessenseins.  1836. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT,  229 

Beneath  these  tracts  of  thought,  which,  however  rudi 
mentary,  are  still  organized  selves  with  a  memory,  habits, 
and  sense  of  their  own  identity,  M.  Janet  thinks  that  the 
tacts  of  catalepsy  in  hysteric  patients  drive  us  to  suppose 
that  there  are  thoughts  quite  unorganized  and  impersonal 
A  patient  in  cataleptic  trance  (which  can  be  produced  arti 
ficially  in  certain  hypnotized  subjects)  is  without  memory 
on  waking,  and  seems  insensible  and  unconscious  as  long 
as  the  cataleptic  condition  lasts.  If,  however,  one  raises 
the  arm  of  such  a  subject  it  stays  in  that  position,  and  the 
whole  body  can  thus  be  moulded  like  wax  under  the  hands 
of  the  operator,  retaining  for  a  considerable  time  whatever 
attitude  he  communicates  to  it.  In  hysterics  whose  arm, 
for  example,  is  anaesthetic,  the  same  thing  may  happen. 
The  anaesthetic  arm  may  remain  passively  in  positions  which 
it  is  made  to  assume ;  or  if  the  hand  be  taken  and  made  to 
hold  a  pencil  and  trace  a  certain  letter,  it  will  continue 
tracing  that  letter  indefinitely  on  the  paper.  These  acts, 
until  recently,  were  supposed  to  be  accompanied  by  no 
consciousness  at  all :  they  were  physiological  reflexes.  M. 
Janet  considers  with  much  more  plausibility  that  feeling 
escorts  them.  The  feeling  is  probably  merely  that  of  the 
position  or  movement  of  the  limb,  and  it  produces  no  more 
than  its  natural  effects  when  it  discharges  into  the  motor 
centres  which  keep  the  position  maintained,  or  the  movement 
incessantly  renewed.*  Such  thoughts  as  these,  says  M. 
Janet,  "  are  known  by  no  one,  for  disaggregated  sensations 
reduced  to  a  state  of  mental  dust  are  not  synthetized  in 
any  personality."  f  He  admits,  however,  that  these  very 
same  unutterably  stupid  thoughts  tend  to  develop  memory, 
— the  cataleptic  ere  long  moves  her  arm  at  a  bare  hint ;  so 
that  they  form  no  important  exception  to  the  law  that  all 
thought  tends  to  assume  the  form  of  personal  conscious 
ness. 

2)    Thought  is  in  Constant  Change. 

I  do  not  mean  necessarily  that  no  one  state  of  mind  has 
any  duration — even  if  true,  that  would  be  hard  to  establish, 
*For  the  Physiology  of  this  compare  the  chapter  oil  the  Will 
*  Loc.  cit.  p.  316. 


230  PSYCHOLOGY. 

The  change  which  I  have  more  particularly  in  view  is  thai 
which  takes  place  in  sensible  intervals  of  time  ;  and  the  result 
on  which  I  wish  to  lay  stress  is  this,  that  no  state  once  gone 
can  recur  and  be  identical  witli  ivhat  it  ivas  before.  Let  us 
begin  with  Mr.  Shadworth  Hodgson's  description  : 

"  I  go  straight  to  the  facts,  without  saying  I  go  to  perception,  or 
sensation,  or  thought,  or  any  special  mode  at  all.  What  I  find  when  1 
look  at  my  consciousness  at  all  is  that  what  I  cannot  divest  myself  of, 
or  not  have  in  consciousness,  if  I  have  any  consciousness  at  all,  is  a 
sequence  of  different  feelings.  I  may  shut  my  eyes  and  keep  perfectly 
still,  and  try  not  to  contribute  anything  of  my  own  will ;  but  whether 
I  think  or  do  not  think,  whether  I  perceive  external  things  or  not,  I 
always  have  a  succession  of  different  feelings.  Anything  else  that  I  may 
have  also,  of  a  more  special  character,  comes  in  as  parts  of  this  suc 
cession.  Not  to  have  the  succession  of  different  feelings  is  not  to  be 
conscious  at  all.  .  .  .  The  chain  of  consciousness  is  a  sequence  of 
diff Brents."  * 

Such  a  description  as  this  can  awaken  no  possible  pro 
test  from  any  one.  We  all  recognize  as  different  great 
classes  of  our  conscious  states.  Now  we  are  seeing,  now 
hearing  ;  now  reasoning,  now  willing ;  now  recollecting,  now 
expecting ;  now  loving,  now  hating ;  and  in  a  hundred  other 
ways  we  know  our  minds  to  be  alternately  engaged.  But 
all  these  are  complex  states.  The  aim  of  science  is  always 
to  reduce  complexity  to  simplicity ;  and  in  psychological 
science  we  have  the  celebrated  'theory  of  ideas9  which, 
admitting  the  great  difference  among  each  other  of  what 
may  be  called  concrete  conditions  of  mind,  seeks  to  show 
how  this  is  all  the  resultant  effect  of  variations  in  the  cora- 
bination  of  certain  simple  elements  of  consciousness  that 
always  remain  the  same.  These  mental  atoms  or  molecules 
are  what  Locke  called  'simple  ideas.'  Some  of  Locke's 
successors  made  out  that  the  only  simple  ideas  were  the 
sensations  strictly  so  called.  Which  ideas  the  simple  ones 
may  be  does  not,  however,  now  concern  us.  It  is  enough 
that  certain  philosophers  have  thought  they  could  see 
under  the  dissolving-view-appearance  of  the  mind  elemen 
tary  facts  of  any  sort  that  remained  unchanged  amid  the 
flow. 

*The  Philosophy  of  Reflection,  i.  248,  290. 


THE  STREAM  OF   THOUGHT.  231 

And  the  view  of  these  philosophers  has  been  called  little 
into  question,  for  our  common  experience  seems  at  first 
sight  to  corroborate  it  entirely.  Are  not  the  sensations  we 
get  from  the  same  object,  for  example,  always  the  same  ? 
Does  not  the  same  piano-key,  struck  with  the  same  force, 
make  us  hear  in  the  same  way  ?  Does  not  the  same  grass 
give  us  the  same  feeling  of  green,  the  same  sky  the  same 
feeling  of  blue,  and  do  we  not  get  the  same  olfactory  sen 
sation  no  matter  how  many  times  we  put  our  nose  to  the 
same  flask  of  cologne  ?  It  seems  a  piece  of  metaphysical 
sophistry  to  suggest  that  we  do  not;  and  yet  a  close  at 
tention  to  the  matter  shows  that  there  is  no  proof  that  the 
same  bodily  sensation  is  ever  got  by  us  twice. 

What  is  got  tioice  is  the  same  OBJECT.  We  hear  the  same 
note  over  and  over  again ;  we  see  the  same  quality  of  green, 
or  smell  the  same  objective  perfume,  or  experience  the  same 
species  of  pain.  The  realities,  concrete  and  abstract,  physi 
cal  and  ideal,  whose  permanent  existence  we  believe  in, 
seem  to  be  constantly  coming  up  again  before  our  thought, 
and  lead  us,  in  our  carelessness,  to  suppose  that  our  'ideas ' 
of  them  are  the  same  ideas.  When  we  come,  some  time 
later,  to  the  chapter  on  Perception,  we  shall  see  how  invet 
erate  is  our  habit  of  not  attending  to  sensations  as  subjec 
tive  facts,  but  of  simply  using  them  as  stepping-stones  to 
pass  over  to  the  recognition  of  the  realities  whose  presence 
they  reveal.  The  grass  out  of  the  window  now  looks  to  me 
of  the  same  green  in  the  sun  as  in  the  shade,  and  yet  a 
painter  would  have  to  paint  one  part  of  it  dark  brown, 
arother  part  bright  yellow,  to  give  its  realj  Sensational  effect. 
We  take  no  heed,  as  a  rule,  of  the  different  way  in  which 
the  same  things  look  and  sound  arid  smell  at  different  dis 
tances  and  under  different  circumstances.  The  sameness 
of  the  things  is  what  we  are  concerned  to  ascertain ;  and 
any  sensations  that  assure  us  of  that  will  probably  be  con 
sidered  in  a  rough  way  to  be  the  same  with  each  other. 
This  is  what  makes  off-hand  testimony  about  the  subjective 
identity  of  different  sensations  well-nigh  worthless  as  a 
proof  of  the  fact.  The  entire  history  of  Sensation  is  a  com 
mentary  on  our  inability  to  tell  whether  two  sensations 
received  apart  are  exactly  alike.  What  appeals  to  our 


232  PSYCHOLOGY. 

attention  far  more  than  the  absolute  quality  or  quantity  oi 
a  given  sensation  is  its  ratio  to  whatever  other  sensations 
we  may  have  at  the  same  time.  When  everything  is  dark 
a  somewhat  less  dark  sensation  makes  us  see  an  object 
white.  Helmholtz  calculates  that  the  white  marble  painted 
in  a  picture  representing  an  architectural  view  by  moon 
light  is,  when  seen  by  daylight,  from  ten  to  twenty  thousand 
times  brighter  than  the  real  moonlit  marble  would  be.* 

Such  a  difference  as  this  could  never  have  been  sensibly 
learned ;  it  had  to  be  inferred  from  a  series  of  indirect  con 
siderations.  There  are  facts  which  make  us  believe  that 
our  sensibility  is  altering  all  the  time,  so  that  the  same 
object  cannot  easily  give  us  the  same  sensation  over  again. 
The  eye's  sensibility  to  light  is  at  its  maximum  when  the 
eye  is  first  exposed,  and  blunts  itself  with  surprising  rapid 
ity.  A  long  night's  sleep  will  make  it  see  things  twice  as 
brightly  on  wakening,  as  simple  rest  by  closure  will  make 
it  see  them  later  in  the  day.f  We  feel  things  differently 
;  according  as  we  are  sleepy  or  awake,  hungry  or  full,  fresh 
;  or  tired ;  differently  at  night  and  in  the  morning,  differently 
in  summer  and  in  winter,  and  above  all  things  differently  in 
childhood,  manhood,  and  old  age.  Yet  we  never  doubt  that 
our  feelings  reveal  the  same  world,  with  the  same  sensible 
qualities  and  the  same  sensible  things  occupying  it.  The 
difference  of  the  sensibility  is  shown  best  by  the  difference 
of  our  emotion  about  the  things  from  one  age  to  another,  or 
when  we  are  in  different  organic  moods.  What  was  bright 
and  exciting  becomes  weary,  flat,  and  unprofitable.  The 
bird's  song  is  tedious,  the  breeze  is  mournful,  the  sky  is 
sad. 

To  these  indirect  presumptions  that  our  sensations,  fol 
lowing  the  mutations  of  our  capacity  for  feeling,  are  always 
undergoing  an   essential  change,  must  be  added  another 
presumption,  based  on  what  must  happen  in  the    brain. 
\  Every  sensation  corresponds  to  some  cerebral  action.     Foi 
an  identical  sensation  to  recur  it  would  have  to  occur  the 
/second  time  in  an  unmodified  brain.     But  as  this,  strictly 

*  Populare  Wissenschaftliche  Vortrage,  Drittes  Heft  (1876).  p.  72. 
t  Fick,  in  L.  Hermann's  Handb.  d.  Pbysiol. ,  Bd.  in.  Th.  i.  D.  225. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  233 

speaking,  is  a  physiological  impossibility,  so  is  an  un 
modified  feeling  an  impossibility ;  for  to  every  brain-modi^ 
fication,  however  small,  must  correspond  a  change  of  equal 
amount  in  the  feeling  which  the  brain  subserves. 

All  this  would  be  true  if  even  sensations  came  to  us  pure 
and  single  and  not  combined  into  '  things.'  Even  then  we 
should  have  to  confess  that,  however  we  might  in  ordinary 
conversation  speak  of  getting  the  same  sensation  again,  we 
never  in  strict  theoretic  accuracy  could  do  so  ;  and  that 
whatever  was  true  of  the  river  of  life,  of  the  river  of  elemen 
tary  feeling,  it  would  certainly  be  true  to  say,  like  Heraclitus, 
that  we  never  descend  twice  into  the  same  stream. 

But  if  the  assumption  of  '  simple  ideas  of  sensation ' 
recurring  in  immutable  shape  is  so  easily  shown  to  be 
baseless,  how  much  more  baseless  is  the  assumption  of 
immutability  in  the  larger  masses  of  our  thought ! 

For  there  it  is  obvious  and  palpable  that  our  state  of 
mind  is  never  precisely  the  same.  Every  thought  we  have 
of  a  given  fact  is,  strictly  speaking,  unique,  and  only  bears  a 
resemblance  of  kind  with  our  other  thoughts  of  the  same 
fact.  When  the  identical  fact  recurs,  we  must  think  of  it 
in  a  fresh  manner,  see  it  under  a  somewhat  different  angle, 
apprehend  it  in  different  relations  from  those  in  which  it 
last  appeared.  And  the  thought  by  which  we  cognize  it  is 
the  thought  of  it-in-those-relations,  a  thought  suffused 
with  the  consciousness  of  all  that  dim  context.  Often  we 
are  ourselves  struck  at  the  strange  differences  in  our  suc 
cessive  views  of  the  same  thing.  We  wonder  how  we  ever 
could  have  opined  as  we  did  last  month  about  a  certain 
matter.  We  have  outgrown  the  possibility  of  that  state  of 
mind,  we  know  not  how.  From  one  year  to  another  we  see 
things  in  new  lights.  What  was  unreal  has  grown  real, 
and  what  was  exciting  is  insipid.  The  friends  we  used  to 
care  the  world  for  are  shrunken  to  shadows ;  the  women, 
once  so  divine,  the  stars,  the  woods,  and  the  waters,  how 
now  so  dull  and  common !  the  young  girls  that  brought  an 
aura  of  infinity,  at  present  hardly  distinguishable  exist 
ences  ;  the  pictures  so  empty ;  and  as  for  the  books,  what 
was  there  to  find  so  mysteriously  significant  in  Goethe,  or  in 
John  Mill  so  full  of  weight?  Instead  of  all  this,  more 


234  PSYCHOLOGY. 

zestful  than  ever  is  the  work,  the  work ,-  and  fuller  and 
deeper  the  import  of  common  duties  and  of  common  goods. 
But  what  here  strikes  us  so  forcibly  on  the  flagrant 
scale  exists  on  every  scale,  down  to  the  imperceptible 
transition  from  one  hour's  outlook  to  that  of  the  next.  Ex 
perience  is  remoulding  us  every  moment,  and  our  mental 
reaction  on  every  given  thing  is  really  a  resultant  of  our 
experience  of  the  whole  world  up  to  that  date.  The  analo 
gies  of  brain-physiology  must  again  be  appealed  to  to 
corroborate  our  view. 

Our  earlier  chapters  have  taught  us  to  believe  that, 
whilst  we  think,  our  brain  changes,  and  that,  like  the  auro 
ra  borealis,  its  whole  internal  equilibrium  shifts  with  every 
pulse  of  change.  The  precise  nature  of  the  shifting  at  a 
given  moment  is  a  product  of  many  factors.  The  acciden 
tal  state  of  local  nutrition  or  blood-supply  may  be  among 
them.  But  just  as  one  of  them  certainly  is  the  influence  of 
outward  objects  on  the  sense-organs  during  the  moment, 
so  is  another  certainly  the  very  special  susceptibility  in 
which  the  organ  has  been  left  at  that  moment  by  all  it 
has  gone  through  in  the  past.  Every  brain-state  is  partly 
determined  by  the  nature  of  this  entire  past  succession. 
Alter  the  latter  in  any  part,  and  the  brain-state  must  be 
\  somewhat  different.  Each  present  brain-state  is  a  record 
in  which  the  eye  of  Omniscience  might  read  all  the  fore 
gone  history  of  its  owner.  It  is  out  of  the  question,  then, 
that  any  total  brain-state  should  identically  recur.  Some 
thing  like  it  may  recur  ;  but  to  suppose  it  to  recur  would 
be  equivalent  to  the  absurd  admission  that  all  the  states 
that  had  intervened  between  its  two  appearances  had  been 
pure  nonentities,  and  that  the  organ  after  their  passage 
was  exactly  as  it  was  before.  And  (to  consider  shorter 
periods)  just  as,  in  the  senses,  an  impression  feels  very  dif 
ferently  according  to  what  has  preceded  it ;  as  one  color 
succeeding  another  is  modified  by  the  contrast,  silence 
sounds  delicious  after  noise,  and  a  note,  when  the  scale  is 
sung  up,  sounds  unlike  itself  when  the  scale  is  sung  down  ; 
as  the  presence  of  certain  lines  in  a  figure  changes  the  ap 
parent  form  of  the  other  lines,  and  as  in  music  the  whole 
aesthetic  effect  comes  from  the  manner  in  which  one  set  of 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  235 

sounds  alters  our  feeling  of  another ;  so,  in  thought,  we 
must  admit  that  those  portions  of  the  brain  that  have  just 
been  maximally  excited  retain  a  kind  of  soreness  which  is 
a  condition  of  our  present  consciousness,  a  codetenninant 
of  how  and  what  we  now  shall  feel.* 

Ever  some  tracts  are  waning  in  tension,  some  waxing, 
whilst  others  actively  discharge.  The  states  of  tension 
have  as  positive  an  influence  as  any  in  determining  the 
total  condition,  and  in  deciding  what  the  psychosis  shall  be. 
All  we  know  of  submaximal  nerve-irritations,  and  of  the 
summation  of  apparently  ineffective  stimuli,  tends  to  show 
that  TIO  changes  in  the  brain  are  physiologically  ineffective, 
and  that  presumably  none  are  bare  of  psychological  result. 
But  as  the  brain-tension  shifts  from  one  relative  state  of 
equilibrium  to  another,  like  the  gyrations  of  a  kaleido- 

I  scope,  now  rapid  and  now  slow,  is  it  likely  that  its  faithful 
psychic  concomitant  is  heavier-footed  than  itself,  and  that 
it  cannot  match  each  one  of  the  organ's  irradiations  by  a 
shifting  inward  iridescence  of  its  own  ?  But  if  it  can  do 
this,  its  inward  iridescences  must  be  infinite,  for  the  brain- 
redistributions  are  in  infinite  variety.  If  so  coarse  a  thing 
as  a  telephone-plate  can  be  made  to  thrill  for  years  and 
never  reduplicate  its  inward  condition,  how  much  more 
must  this  be  the  case  with  the  infinitely  delicate  brain  ? 

I  am  sure  that  this  concrete  and  total  manner  of  regard 
ing  the  mind's  changes  is  the  only  true  manner,  difficult  as 
it  may  be  to  carry  it  out  in  detail.  If  anything  seems  ob 
scure  about  it,  it  will  grow  clearer  as  we  advance.  Mean 
while,  if  it  be  true,  it  is  certainly  also  true  that  no  two 
'  ideas '  are  ever  exactly  the  same,  which  is  the  proposition 
we  started  to  prove.  The  proposition  is  more  important 
theoretically  than  it  at  first  sight  seems.  For  it  makes  it 

*It  need  of  course  not  follow,  because  a  total  brain-state  does  not  re 
cur,  that  no  point  of  the  brain  can  ever  be  twice  in  the  same  condition. 
That  would  be  as  improbable  a  consequence  as  that  in  the  sea  a  wave-crest 
should  never  come  twice  at  the  same  point  of  space.     What  can  hardly 
come  twice  is  an  identical  combination  of  wave-forms  all  with  their  crests/ 1. 
and   hollows    reoccupying  identical  places.     For  such   a  total  combina-' 
tionasthis  is  the  analogue  of  the  brain-state  to  which  our  actual  conscious 
ness  at  any  moment  is  due. 


236  PSYCHOLOGY. 

already  impossible  for  us  to  follow  obediently  in  the  foot 
prints  of  eitlier  the  Lockian  or  the  Herbartian  school, 
schools  which  have  had  almost  unlimited  influence  in  Ger 
many  and  among  ourselves.  No  doubt  it  is  often  con 
venient  to  formulate  the  mental  facts  in  an  atomistic  sort 
of  way,  and  to  treat  the  higher  states  of  consciousness  as  if 
they  were  all  built  out  of  unchanging  simple  ideas.  It  is 
convenient  often  to  treat  curves  as  if  they  were  composed 
of  small  straight  lines,  and  electricity  and  nerve-force  as  if 
they  were  fluids.  But  in  the  one  case  as  in  the  other  we 
must  never  forget  that  we  are  talking  symbolically,  and 
that  there  is  nothing  in  nature  to  answer  to  our  words.  A 
permanently  existing  '  idea '  or  *  Vorstellung '  which  makes  its 
i  appearance  before  the  footlights  of  consciousness  at  periodical 
'  intervals,  is  as  mythological  an  entity  as  the  Jack  of  Spades. 

What  makes  it  convenient  to  use  the  mythological  for 
mulas  is  the  whole  organization  of  speech,  which,  as  was 
remarked  a  while  ago,  was  not  made  by  psychologists,  but 
by  men  who  were  as  a  rule  only  interested  in  the  facts  their 
mental  states  revealed.  They  only  spoke  of  their  states  as 
ideas  of  this  or  of  that  thing.  "What  wonder,  then,  that  the 
thought  is  most  easily  conceived  under  the  law  of  the  thing 
whose  name  it  bears  !  If  the  thing  is  composed  of  parts, 
then  we  suppose  that  the  thought  of  the  thing  must  be 
composed  of  the  thoughts  of  the  parts.  If  one  part  of  the 
thing  have  appeared  in  the  same  thing  or  in  other  things  on 
former  occasions,  why  then  we  must  be  having  even  now  the 
very  same  '  idea '  of  that  part  which  was  there  on  those  occa 
sion  s.  If  the  thing  is  simple,  its  thought  is  simple.  If  it 
is  multitudinous,  it  must  require  a  multitude  of  thoughts 
to  think  it.  If  a  succession,  only  a  succession  of  thoughts 
can  know  it.  If  permanent,  its  thought  is  permanent.  And 
so  on  ad  libitum.  What  after  all  is  so  natural  as  to  assume 
that  one  object,  called  by  one  name,  should  be  known  by 
one  affection  of  the  mind  ?  But,  if  language  must  thus  in 
fluence  us,  the  agglutinative  languages,  and  even  Greek  and 
Latin  with  their  declensions,  would  be  the  better  guides. 
Names  did  not  appear  in  them  inalterable,  but  changed 
their  shape  to  suit  the  context  in  which  they  lay.  It  must 
have  been  easier  then  than  now  to  conceive  of  the  same 


THE  STREAM  OF   THOUGHT.  237 

object  as  being  thought  of  at  different  times  in  non-identical 
conscious  states. 

This,  too,  will  grow  clearer  as  we  proceed.  Meanwhile 
a  necessary  consequence  of  the  belief  in  permanent  self- 
identical  psychic  facts  that  absent  themselves  and  recur 
periodically  is  the  Humian  doctrine  that  our  thought  is 
composed  of  separate  independent  parts  and  is  not  a  sen 
sibly  continuous  stream.  That  this  doctrine  entirely  mis 
represents  the  natural  appearances  is  what  I  next  shall  try 
to  show. 

3)   Within  each  personal  consciousness,  thought  is  sensibly  con 
tinuous. 

I  can  only  define  '  continuous '  as  that  which  is  with 
out  breach,  crack,  or  division.  I  have  already  said  that 
the  breach  from  one  mind  to  another  is  perhaps  the  greats 
est  breach  in  nature.  The  only  breaches  that  can  well  be 
conceived  to  occur  within  the  limits  of  a  single  mind  would 
either  be  interruptions,  time-gaps  during  which  the  con 
sciousness  went  out  altogether  to  come  into  existence  again 
at  a  later  moment ;  or  they  would  be  breaks  in  the  quality^ 
or  content,  of  the  thought,  so  abrupt  that  the  segment  that 
followed  had  no  connection  whatever  with  the  one  that 
went  before.  The  proposition  that  within  each  personal 
consciousness  thought  feels  continuous,  means  two  things: 

1.  That  even  where  there  is  a  time-gap  the  conscious 
ness  after  it  feels  as  if  it  belonged  together  with  the  con 
sciousness  before  it,  as  another  part  of  the  same  self; 

2.  That  the  changes  from  one  moment  to  another  in  the 
quality  of  the  consciousness  are  never  absolutely  abrupt. 

The  case  of  the  time-gaps,  as  the  simplest,  shall  be  taken 
first.  And  first  of  all  a  word  about  time-gaps  of  which  the 
consciousness  may  not  be  itself  aware. 

On  page  200  we  saw  that  such  time-gaps  existed,  and 
that  they  might  be  more  numerous  than  is  usually  supposed. 
If  the  consciousness  is  not  aware  of  them,  it  cannot  feel 
them  as  interruptions.  In  the  unconsciousness  produced 
by  nitrous  oxide  and  other  anaesthetics,  in  that  of  epilepsy 
and  fainting,  the  broken  edges  of  the  sentient  life  may 


238  PSYCHOLOGY. 

meet  and  merge  over  the  gap,  much  as  the  feelings  of  space 
of  the  opposite  margins  of  the  '  blind  spot '  meet  and 
merge  over  that  objective  interruption  to  the  sensitiveness 
of  the  eye.  Such  consciousness  as  this,  whatever  it  be  for 
the  onlooking  psyche  logist,  is  for  itself  unbroken»  It  feds 
unbroken  ;  a  waking  day  of  it  is  sensibly  a  unit  as  long  as 
that  day  lasts,  in  the  sense  in  which  the  hours  themselves 
are  units,  as  having  all  their  parts  next  each  other,  with  no 
intrusive  alien  substance  between.  To  expect  the  con 
sciousness  to  feel  the  interruptions  of  its  objective  con 
tinuity  as  gaps,  would  be  like  expecting  the  eye  to  feel  a 
gap  of  silence  because  it  does  not  hear,  or  the  ear  to  feel  a 
gap  of  darkness  because  it  does  not  see.  So  much  for  the 
gaps  that  are  unfelt. 

With  the  felt  gaps  the  case  is  different.  On  waking  from 
sleep,  we  usually  know  that  we  have  been  unconscious, 
and  we  often  have  an  accurate  judgment  of  how  long.  The 
judgment  here  is  certainly  an  inference  from  sensible  signs, 
and  its  ease  is  due  to  long  practice  in  the  particular  field.* 
The  result  of  it,  however,  is  that  the  consciousness  is,  for 
itself,  not  what  it  was  in  the  former  case,  but  interrupted 
and  discontinuous,  in  the  mere  sense  of  the  words.  But 
in  the  other  sense  of  continuity,  the  sense  of  the  parts  being 
inwardly  connected  and  belonging  together  because  they 
are  parts  of  a  common  whole,  the  consciousness  remains 
sensibly  continuous  and  one.  What  now  is  the  common 
whole  ?  The  natural  name  for  it  is  myself,  I,  or  me. 

When  Paul  and  Peter  wake  up  in  the  same  bed,  and 
recognize  that  they  have  been  asleep,  each  one  of  them 
mentally  reaches  back  and  makes  connection  with  but  one 
of  the  two  streams  of  thought  which  were  broken  by  the 
sleeping  hours.  As  the  current  of  an  electrode  buried  in 
the  ground  unerringly  finds  its  way  to  its  own  similarly 
buried  mate,  across  no  matter  how  much  intervening  earth  ; 
so  Peter's  present  instantly  finds  out  Peter's  past,  and  never 
by  mistake  knits  itself  on  to  that  of  Paul.  Paul's  thought 
in  turn  is  as  little  liable  to  go  astray.  The  past  thought  of 
Peter  is  appropriated  by  the  present  Peter  alone.  He  may 

*  The  accurate  registration  of  the  '  how  \ona- '  is  still  a  little  mysterious' 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  239 

have  a  knowledge,  and  a  correct  one  too,  of  what  Paul's 
last  drowsy  states  of  mind  were  as  he  sank  into  sleep,  but  it 
is  an  entirely  different  sort  of  knowledge  from  that  which  he 
has  ot  his  own  last  states.  He  remembers  his  own  states, 
whilst  he  only  conceives  Paul's.  Remembrance  is  like  direct 
feeling ;  its  object  is  suffused  with  a  warmth  and  intimacy 
to  which  no  object  of  mere  conception  ever  attains.  This 
quality  of  warmth  and  intimacy  and  immediacy  is  what 
Peter's  present  thought  also  possesses  for  itself.  So  sure 
as  this  present  is  me,  is  mine,  it  says,  so  sure  is  anything 
else  that  comes  with  the  same  warmth  and  intimacy  and 
immediacy,  me  and  mine.  What  the  qualities  called 
warmth  and  intimacy  may  in  themselves  be  will  have  to  be 
matter  for  future  consideration.  But  whatever  past  feel- 
ino-s  appear  with  those  qualities  must  be  admitted  to  re 
ceive  the  greeting  of  the  present  mental  state,  to  be  owned 
by  it,  and  accepted  as  belonging  together  with  it  in  a  com 
mon  self.  This  community  of  self  is  what  the  time-gap 
cannot  break  in  twain,  and  is  why  a  present  thought,  al 
though  not  ignorant  of  the  time-gap,  can  still  regard  itself 
as  continuous  with  certain  chosen  portions  of  the  past. 

Consciousness,  then,  does  not  appear  to  itself  chopped 
up  in  bits.  Such  words  as  *  chain '  or  c  train  '  do  not  de 
scribe  it  fitly  ar;  it  presents  itself  in  the  first  instance.  It 
is  nothing  jointed;  it  flows.  A  'river'  or  a  'stream'  are 
the  metaphors  by  which  it  is  most  naturally  described.  In 
talking  of  it  hereafter,  let  us  call  it  the  stream  of  thought,  of 
consciousness,  or  of  subjective  life. 

But  now  there  appears,  even  within  the  limits  of  the 
same  self,  and  between  thoughts  all  of  which  alike  have 
this  same  sense  of  belonging  together,  a  kind  of  jointing  and 
separateness  among  the  parts,  of  which  this  statement 
seems  to  take  no  account.  I  refer  to  the  breaks  that  are 
produced  by  sudden  contrasts  in  the.  quality  of  the  successive 
segments  of  the  stream  of  thought  If  the  words  <  chain ' 
and  '  train '  had  no  natural  fitness  in  them,  how  came  such 
words  to  be  used  at  all  ?  Does  not  a  loud  explosion  rend 
the  consciousness  upon  which  it  abruptly  breaks,  in  twain  ? 
Does  not  every  sudden  shock,  appearance  of  a  new  object, 


240  PSYCHOLOGY. 

or  change  in  a  sensation,  create  a  real  interruption,  sensibly 
felt  as  such,  which  cuts  the  conscious  stream  across  at  the 
moment  at  which  it  appears  ?  Do  not  such  interruptions 
smite  us  every  hour  of  our  lives,  and  have  we  the  right,  in 
their  presence,  still  to  call  our  consciousness  a  continuous 
stream  ? 

This  objection  is  based  partly  on  a  confusion  and  partly 
on  a  superficial  introspective  view. 

The  confusion  is  between  the  thoughts  themselves,  taken 
as  subjective  facts,  and  the  things  of  which  they  are  aware. 
It  is  natural  to  make  this  confusion,  but  easy  to  avoid  it 
when  once  put  on  one's  guard.  The  things  are  discrete 
and  discontinuous ;  they  do  pass  before  us  in  a  train  or 
chain,  making  often  explosive  appearances  and  rending 
each  other  in  twain.  But  their  comings  and  goings  and 
contrasts  no  more  break  the  flow  of  the  thought  that  thinks 
them  than  they  break  the  time  and  the  space  in  which  they 
lie.  A  silence  may  be  broken  by  a  thunder-clap,  and  we 
may  be  so  stunned  and  confused  for  a  moment  by  the  shock 
as  to  give  no  instant  account  to  ourselves  of  what  has  hap 
pened.  But  that  very  confusion  is  a  mental  state,  and  a 
state  that  passes  us  straight  over  from  the  silence  to  the 
sound.  The  transition  between  the  thought  of  one  object 
and  the  thought  of  another  is  no  more  a  break  in  the  thought 
than  a  joint  in  a  bamboo  is  a  break  in  the  wood.  It  is  a 
part  of  the  consciousness  as  much  as  the  joint  is  a  part  of  the 
bamboo. 

The  superficial  introspective  view  is  the  overlooking, 
even  when  the  things  are  contrasted  with  each  other  moet 
violently,  of  the  large  amount  of  affinity  that  may  still  re 
main  between  the  thoughts  by  whose  means  they  are 
cognized.  Into  the  awareness  of  the  thunder  itself  the 
awareness  of  the  previous  silence  creeps  and  continues ;  for 
what  we  hear  when  the  thunder  crashes  is  not  thunder 
pure,  but  thunder-breaking-upon-silence-and-contrasting- 
with-it.*  Our  feeling  of  the  same  objective  thunder,  com 
ing  in  this  way,  is  quite  different  from  what  it  would  be 

*  Of.  Brentano;  Psychologic,  vol.  i.  pp.  219-20.  Altogether  this 
chapter  of  Brentano's  on  the  Unity  of  Consciousness  is  as  good  as  anything 
with  which  I  am  acquainted. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  241 

were  the  thunder  a  continuation  of  previous  thunder.  The 
thunder  itself  we  believe  to  abolish  and  exclude  the  silence  ; 
but  i\\s  feeling  of  the  thunder  is  also  a  feeling  of  the  silence 
as  just  gone ;  and  it  would  be  difficult  to  find  in  the  actual 
concrete  consciousness  of  man  a  feeling  so  limited  to  the 
present  as  not  to  have  an  inkling  of  anything  that  went  be 
fore.  Here,  again,  language  works  against  our  perception 
of  the  truth.  We  name  our  thoughts  simply,  each  after  its 
thing,  as  if  each  knew  its  own  thing  and  nothing  else. 
What  each  really  knows  is  clearly  the  thing  it  is  named  for, 
with  dimly  perhaps  a  thousand  other  things.  It  ought  to 
be  named  after  all  of  them,  but  it  never  is.  Some  of  them 
are  always  things  known  a  moment  ago  more  clearly  ;  others 
are  things  to  be  known  more  clearly  a  moment  hence. *  Our 
own  bodily  position,  attitude,  condition,  is  one  of  the  things 
of  which  some  awareness,  however  inattentive,  invariably 
accompanies  the  knowledge  of  whatever  else  we  know.  We 

*  Honor  to  whom  honor  is  due  !  The  most  explicit  acknowledgment  I 
have  anywhere  found  of  all  this  is  in  a  buried  and  forgotten  paper  by  the 
Rev.  Jas.  Wills,  on  'Accidental  Association/  in  the  Transactions  of  the 
Royal  Irish  Academy,  vol  xxr.  part  i  (1846).  Mr.  Wills  writes  : 

"At  every  instant  of  conscious  thought  there  is  a  certain  sum  of  per 
ceptions,  or  reflections,  or  both  together,  present,  and  together  constituting 
one  whole  state  of  apprehension.  Of  this  some  definite  portion  may  be  far 
more  distinct  than  all  the  rest ;  and  the  rest  be  iu  consequence  propor- 
tionably  vague,  even  to  the  limit  of  obliteration.  But  still,  within  this 
limit,  the  most  dim  shade  of  perception  enters  into,  and  in  some  infinites 
imal  degree  modifies,  the  whole  existing  slate.  This  state  will  thus  be  in 
some  way  modified  by  any  sensation  or  emotion,  or  act  of  distinct  attention, 
that  may  give  prominence  to  any  part  of  it ;  so  that  the  actual  result  is 
capable  of  the  utmost  variation,  according  to  the  person  or  the  occasion. 
...  To  any  portion  of  the  entire  scope  here  described  there  may  be  a 
special  direction  of  the  attention,  and  this  special  direction  is  recognized 
as  strictly  what  is  recognized  as  the  idea  present  to  the  mind.  This  idea  is 
evidently  not  commensurate  with  the  entire  state  of  apprehension,  and 
much  perplexity  has  arisen  from  not  observing  this  fact.  However  deeply 
we  may  suppose  the  attention  to  be  engaged  by  any  thought,  any  consider 
able  alteration  of  the  surrounding  phenomena  would  still  be  perceived;  the 
most  abstruse  demonstration  iu  this  room  would  not  prevent  a  listener, 
however  absorbed,  from  noticing  the  sudden  extinction  of  the  lights.  Our 
mental  states  have  always  an  essential  unity,  such  that  each  state  of  appre 
hension,  however  variously  compounded,  is  a  single  whole,  of  which  every 
component  is,  therefore,  strictly  apprehended  (so  far  as  it  is  apprehended) 
as  a  part.  Such  is  the  elementary  basis  from  which  all  our  intellectual 
operations  commence." 


242  PSYCHOLOGY. 

think ;  and  as  we  think  we  feel  our  bodily  selves  as  the  seat 
of  the  thinking.  If  the  thinking  be  our  thinking,  it  must 
be  suffused  through  all  its  parts  with  that  peculiar  warmth 
and  intimacy  that  make  it  come  as  ours.  Whether  the 
warmth  and  intimacy  be  anything  more  than  the  feeling  of 
the  same  old  body  always  there,  is  a  matter  for  the  next 
chapter  to  decide.  Whatever  the  content  of  the  ego  may  be, 
it  is  habitually  felt  with  everything  else  by  us  humans, 
and  must  form  a  liaison  between  all  the  things  of  which  we 
become  successively  aware.  * 

On  this  gradualness  in  the  changes  of  our  mental  con 
tent  the  principles  of  nerve-action  can  throw  some  more 
light.  When  studying,  in  Chapter  III,  the  summation  of 
nervous  activities,  we  saw  that  no  state  of  the  brain  can  be 
supposed  instantly  to  die  away.  If  a  new  state  comes,  the 
inertia  of  the  old  state  will  still  be  there  and  modify  the 
result  accordingly.  Of  course  we  cannot  tell,  in  our  igno 
rance,  what  in  each  instance  the  modifications  ought  to  be. 
The  commonest  modifications  in  sense-perception  are 
known  as  the  phenomena  of  contrast.  In  aesthetics  they 
are  the  feelings  of  delight  or  displeasure  which  certain 
particular  orders  in  a  series  of  impressions  give.  In 
thought,  strictly  and  narrowly  so  called,  they  are  unques 
tionably  that  consciousness  of  the  whence  and  the  luhither 
that  always  accompanies  its  flows.  If  recently  the  brain- 
tract  a  was  vividly  excited,  and  then  b,  and  now  vividly  c, 
the  total  present  consciousness  is  not  produced  simply  by 
c's  excitement,  but  also  by  the  dying  vibrations  of  a  and  b 
as  well.  If  we  want  to  represent  the  brain-process  we 
must  write  it  thus  :  ^c — three  different  processes  coexist- 

a 

ing,  and  correlated  with  them  a  thought  which  is  no  one 
of  the  three  thoughts  which  they  would  have  produced  had 
each  of  them  occurred  alone.  But  whatever  this  fourth 
thought  may  exactly  be,  it  seems  impossible  that  it  should 
not  be  something  like  each  of  the  three  other  thoughts 
whose  tracts  are  concerned  in  its  production,  though  in  a 
fast-waning  phase. 

*  Compare  the  charming  passage  in  Taine  on  Intelligence  (N.  Y.  ed.), 
i.  83-4. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  24B 

It  all  goes  back  to  what  we  said  in  another  connection 
only  a  few  pages  ago  (p.  233).  As  the  total  neurosis  changes, 
so  does  the  total  psychosis  change.  But  as  the  changes  of 
neurosis  are  never  absolutely  discontinuous,  so  must  the 
successive  psychoses  shade  gradually  into  each  other, 
although  their  rate  of  change  may  be  much  faster  at  one 
moment  than  at  the  next. 

This  difference  in  the  rate  of  change  lies  at  the  basis  of 
a  difference  of  subjective  states  of  which  we  ought  immedi 
ately  to  speak.  When  the  rate  is  slow  we  are  aware  of  the 
object  of  our  thought  in  a  comparatively  restful  and  stable 
way.  When  rapid,  we  are  aware  of  a  passage,  a  relation, 
a  transition  from  it,  or  'between  it  and  something  else.  As 
we  take,  in  fact,  a  general  view  of  the  wonderful  stveam  of 
our  consciousness,  what  strikes  us  first  is  this  different 
pace  of  its  parts.  Like  a  bird's  life,  it  seems  to  be  made  of 
an  alternation  of  flights  and  perchings.  The  rhythm  of 
language  expresses  this,  where  every  thought  is  expressed 
in  a  sentence,  and  every  sentence  closed  by  a  period.  The 
resting-places  are  usually  occupied  by  sensorial  imagina 
tions  of  some  sort,  whose  peculiarity  is  that  they  can  be 
held  before  the  mind  for  an  indefinite  time,  and  contem 
plated  without  changing  ;  the  places  of  flight  are  filled  with 
thoughts  of  relations,  static  or  dynamic,  that  for  the  most 
part  obtain  between  the  matters  contemplated  in  the 
periods  of  comparative  rest. 

Let  us  call  the  resting-places  the  l  substantive  parts,'  and 
the  places  of  flight  the  '  transitive  parts,'  of  the  stream  of 
thought.  It  then  appears  that  the  main  end  of  our 
thinking  is  at  all  times  the  attainment  of  some  other  sub 
stantive  part  than  the  one  from  which  we  have  just  been 
dislodged.  And  we  may  say  that  the  main  use  of  the 
transitive  parts  is  to  lead  us  from  one  substantive  conclu 
sion  to  another. 

Now  it  is  very  difficult,  introspectively,  to  see  the  tran 
sitive  parts  for  what  they  really  are.  If  they  are  but  flights 
to  a  conclusion,  stopping  them  to  look  at  them  before  the 
conclusion  is  reached  is  really  annihilating  them.  Whilst 
if  we  wait  till  the  conclusion  le  reached,  it  so  exceeds  them 


244  PSYCHOLOGY 

In  vigor  and  stability  fihat  it  quite  eclipses  and  swallows 
them  up  in  its  glare.  Leo  anyone  try  to  cut  a  thought 
across  in  the  middle  and  get  a  look  at  its  section,  and  he 
will  see  how  difficult  the  introspective  observation  of  the 
transitive  tracts  is.  The  rush  of  the  thought  is  so  headlong 
that  it  almost  always  brings  us  up  at  the  conclusion  before 
we  can  arrest  it.  Or  if  our  purpose  is  nimble  enough  and 
we  do  arrest  it,  it  ceases  forthwith  to  be  itself.  As  a  snow- 
flake  crystal  caught  in  the  warm  hand  is  no  longer  a  crystal 
but  a  drop,  so,  instead  of  catching  tho  feeling  of  relation 
moving  to  its  term,  we  find  we  have  caught  some  substantive 
thing,  usually  the  last  word  we  were  pronouncing,  statically 
taken,  and  with  Its  function,  tendency,  and  particular 
meaning  in  the  sentence  quite  evaporated.  Tho  attempt 
at  introspective  analysis  in  these  cases  is  in  fact  like  seiz 
ing  a  spinning  top  to  catch  its  motion,  or  trying  to  turn  up 
the  gas  quickly  enough  to  see  how  the  darkness  looks. 
And  the  challenge  to  produce  these  psychoses,  which  is 
sure  to  be  thrown  by  doubting  psychologists  at  anyone 
who  contends  for  their  existence,  is  as  unfair  as  Zeno's 
treatment  of  the  advocates  of  motion,  when,  asking  them 
to  point  out  in  what  place  an  arrow  is  when  it  moves,  he 
argues  the  falsity  of  their  thesis  from  their  inability  to 
make  to  so  preposterous  a  question  an  immediate  reply. 

The  results  of  this  introspective  difficulty  are  baleful. 
If  to  hold  fast  and  observe  the  transitive  parts  of  thought's 
stream  be  so  hard,  then  the  great  blunder  to  which  all 
schools  are  liable  must  be  the  failure  to  register  them,  and 
the  undue  emphasizing  of  the  more  substantive  parts  of  the 
stream.  Were  we  not  ourselves  a  moment  since  in  danger 
of  ignoring  any  feeling  transitive  between  the  silence  and 
the  thunder,  and  of  treating  their  boundary  as  a  sort  of 
break  in  the  mind  ?  Now  such  ignoring  as  this  has  histor 
ically  worked  in  two  ways.  One  set  of  thinkers  have  been 
led  by  it  to  Sensationalism.  Unable  to  lay  their  hands  on  any 
coarse  feelings  corresponding  to  the  innumerable  relations 
and  forms  of  connection  between  the  facts  of  the  world, 
finding  no  named  subjective  modifications  mirroring  such 
relations,  they  have  for  the  most  part  denied  that  feelings 
of  relation  exist,  and  many  of  them,  like  Hume,  have  gone 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  245 

so  far  as  to  deny  the  reality  of  most  relations  out  of  the 
mind  as  well  as  in  it.  Substantive  psychoses,  sensations 
and  their  copies  and  derivatives,  juxtaposed  like  dominoes 
in  a  game,  but  really  separate,  everything  else  verbal  illu 
sion, — such  is  the  upshot  of  this  view.*  The  Intellectual 
ists,  on  the  other  hand,  unable  to  give  up  the  reality  of 
relations  extra  mentem,  but  equally  unable  to  point  to  any 
distinct  substantive  feelings  in  which  they  were  known,  have 
made  the  same  admission  that  the  feelings  do  not  exist. 
But  they  have  drawn  an  opposite  conclusion.  The  rela 
tions  must  be  known,  they  say,  in  something  that  is  no 
feeling,  no  mental  modification  continuous  and  consub- 
stantial  with  the  subjective  tissue  out  of  which  sensations 
and  other  substantive  states  are  made.  They  are  known, 
these  relations,  by  something  that  lies  on  an  entirely 
different  plane,  by  an  actus  purus  of  Thought,  Intellect,  or 
Reason,  all  written  with  capitals  and  considered  to  mean 
something  unutterably  superior  to  any  fact  of  sensibility 
whatever. 

But  from  our  point  of  view  both  Intellectualists  and  Sen 
sationalists  are  wrong.  If  there  be  such  things  as  feelings 
at  all,  then  so  surely  as  relations  between  objects  exist  in  rerum 
naturd,  so  surely,  and  more  surely,  do  feelings  exist  to  which 
these  relations  are  known.  There  is  not  a  conjunction  or  a 
preposition,  and  hardly  an  adverbial  phrase,  syntactic  form, 
or  inflection  of  voice,  in  human  speech,  that  does  not  express 
some  shading  or  other  of  relation  which  we  at  some  mo 
ment  actually  feel  to  exist  between  the  larger  objects  of  our 
thought.  If  we  speak  objectively,  it  is  the  real  relations 
that  appear  revealed  ;  if  we  speak  subjectively,  it  is  the 
stream  of  consciousness  that  matches  each  of  them  by  an 
inward  coloring  of  its  own.  In  either  case  the  relations 
are  numberless,  and  no  existing  language  is  capable  of  do 
ing  justice  to  all  their  shades. 

We  ought  to  say  a  feeling  of  and,  a  feeling  of  if,  a  feeling 
of  but,  and  a  feeling  of  by,  quite  as  readily  as  we  say  a  feel- 

*E.g. :  "The  stream  of  thought  is  not  a  continuous  current,  but  a  series 
of  distinct  ideas,  more  or  less  rapid  in  their  succession  ;  the  rapidity  being 
measurable  by  the  number  that  pass  through  the  mind  in  a  given  time." 
(Bain  :  E.  and  W.,  p.  29.) 


246  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ing  of  Uue  or  a  feeling  of  cold.  Yet  we  do  not :  so  invetei\ 
ate  lias  our  habit  become  of  recognizing  the  existence  of 
the  substantive  parts  alone,  that  language  almost  refuses 
to  lend  itself  to  any  other  use.  The  Empiricists  have  al 
ways  dwelt  on  its  influence  in  making  us  suppose  that 
where  we  have  a  separate  name,  a  separate  thing  must 
needs  be  there  to  correspond  with  it ;  and  they  have  right 
ly  denied  the  existence  of  the  mob  of  abstract  entities, 
principles,  and  forces,  in  whose  favor  no  other  evidence 
than  this  could  be  brought  up.  But  they  have  said  noth 
ing  of  that  obverse  error,  of  which  we  said  a  word  in  Chap 
ter  VII,  (see  p.  195),  of  supposing  that  where  there  is  no  name 
no  entity  can  exist.  All  dumb  or  anonymous  psychic  states 
have,  owing  to  this  error,  been  coolly  suppressed;  or,  if 
recognized  at  all,  have  been  named  after  the  substantive 
perception  they  led  to,  as  thoughts  '  about '  this  object  or 
*  about '  that,  the  stolid  word  about  engulfing  all  their  del 
icate  idiosyncrasies  in  its  monotonous  sound.  Thus  the 
greater  and  greater  accentuation  and  isolation  of  the  sub 
stantive  parts  have  continually  gone  on. 

Once  more  take  a  look  at  the  brain.  We  believe  the 
brain  to  be  an  organ  whose  internal  equilibrium  is  always 
in  a  state  of  change, — the  change  affecting  every  part.  The 
pulses  of  change  are  doubtless  more  violent  in  one  place 
than  in  another,  their  rhythm  more  rapid  at  this  time  than 
at  that.  As  in  a  kaleidoscope  revolving  at  a  uniform  rate,  al 
though  the  figures  are  always  rearranging  themselves,  there 
are  instants  during  which  the  transformation  seems  minute 
and  interstitial  and  almost  absent,  followed  by  others  when 
it  shoots  with  magical  rapidity,  relatively  stable  forms  thus 
alternating  with  forms  we  should  not  distinguish  if  seen 
again ;  so  in  the  brain  the  perpetual  rearrangement  must 
result  in  some  forms  of  tension  lingering  relatively  long, 
ivhilst  others  simply  come  and  pass.  But  if  consciousness 
corresponds  to  the  fact  of  rearrangement  itself,  why,  if 
the  rearrangement  stop  not,  should  the  consciousness  ever 
cease  ?  And  if  a  lingering  rearrangement  brings  with  it 
one  kind  of  consciousness,  why  should  not  a  swift  rearrange 
ment  bring  another  kind  of  consciousness  as  peculiar  as 
the  rearrangement  itself?  The  lingering  consciousnesses, 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  247 

if  of  simple  objects,  we  call  'sensations'  or  'images,'  ac 
cording  as  they  are  vivid  or  faint ;  if  of  complex  objects, 
we  call  them  '  percepts '  when  vivid,  '  concepts '  or 
'  thoughts  '  when  faint.  For  the  swift  consciousnesses  we 
have  only  those  names  of  '  transitive  states,'  or  '  feelings  of 
relation,'  which  we  have  used.*  As  the  brain-changes 


*  Few  writers  have  admitted  that  we  cognize  relations  through  feeling. 
The  intellectualists  have  explicitly  denied  the  possibility  of  such  a  thing— 
e.g.,  Prof.  T.  H.  Green  ('Mind,'  vol.  vn.  p.  28):  "No  feeling,  as  such 
or  as  felt,  is  [of  ?]  a  relation.  .  .  .  Even  a  relation  between  feelings  is  not 
itself  a  feeling  or  felt."  On  the  other  hand,  the  sensatiouists  have  either 
smuggled  in  the  cognition  without  giving  any  account  of  it,  or  have  denied 
the  relations  to  be  cognized,  or  even  to  exist,  at  all.  A  few  honorable  ex 
ceptions,  however,  deserve  to  be  named  among  the  sensatiouists.  Dcstutt 
de  Tracy,  Laromiguiere,  Cardaillac,  Brown,  and  finally  Spencer,  have  ex 
plicitly  contended  for  feelings  of  relation,  COD  substantial  with  our  feelings 
or  thoughts  of  the  terms  '  between  '  which  they  obtain.  Thus  Destutt  de 
Tracy  says  (Elements  dTdeologie,  T.  ler,  chap,  iv);  "  The  faculty  of 
judgment  is  itself  a  sort  of  sensibility,  for  it  is  the  faculty  of  feeling  the 
relations  among  our  ideas;  and  to  feel  relations  is  to  feel."  Laromiguiere 
writes  (Le9ons  de  Philosophic,  lime  Partie,  3me  Le9ou): 

"  There  is  no  one  whose  intelligence  does  not  embrace  simultaneously 
many  ideas,  more  or  less  distinct,  more  or  less  confused.  Now,  when  we 
have  many  ideas  at  once,  a  peculiar  feeling  arises  in  us  :  we  feel,  among 
these  ideas,  resemblances,  differences,  relations.  Let  us  call  this  mode  of 
feeling,  common  to  us  all,  the  feeling  of  relation,  or  relation-feeling 
(sentiment-rapport).  One  sees  immediately  that  these  relation-feelings,  re 
sulting  from  the  propinquity  of  ideas,  must  be  infinitely  more  numerous 
than  the  sensation-feelings  (sentiments-sensations]  or  the  feelings  we  have 
of  the  action  of  our  faculties.  The  slightest  knowledge  of  the  mathemat 
ical  theory  of  combinations  will  prove  this.  .  .  .  Ideas  of  relation  origi 
nate  in  feelings  of  relation.  They  are  the  effect  of  our  comparing  them  and 
reasoning  about  them." 

Similarly,  de  Cardaillac  (Etudes  Eleineutaires  de  Philosophic,  Section  I. 
chap,  vn ): 

"  By  a  natural  consequence,  we  are  led  to  suppose  that  at  the  same  time 
that  we  have  several  sensations  or  several  ideas  in  the  mind,  we  feel  the  rela 
tions  which  exist  between  these  sensations,  and  the  relations  which  exist  be 
tween  these  ideas.  ...  If  the  feeling  of  relations  exists  in  us,  ...  it  is 
necessarily  the  most  varied  and  the  most  fertile  of  all  human  feelings: 
1°  the  most  varied,  because,  relations  being  more  numerous  than  beings, 
the  feelings  of  relation  must  be  in  the  same  proportion  more  numerous 
than  the  sensations  whose  presence  gives  rise  to  their  formation;  2°,  the 
most  fertile,  for  the  relative  ideas  of  which  the  feeling-of-relation  is  the 
source  .  .  .  are  more  important  than  absolute  ideas,  if  such  exist.  ...  If 
we  interrogate  common  speech,  we  find  the  feeling  of  relation  expressed 
there  in  a  thousand  different  ways.  If  it  is  easy  to  seize  a  relation,  we  saj; 


248  PSYCHOLOGY. 

are  continuous,  so  do  all  these  consciousnesses  melt  into 
each  other  like  dissolving  views.  Properly  they  are  but 
one  protracted  consciousness,  one  unbroken  stream. 

that  it  is  sensible,  to  distinguish  it  from  one  which,  because  its  terms  are 
too  remote,  cannot  be  as  quickly  perceived.  A  sensible  difference,  or  re 
semblance.  .  .  .  What  is  taste  in  the  arts,  in  intellectual  productions  r 
What  but  the  feeling  of  those  relations  among  the  parts  which  constitutes 
their  merit  ?  .  .  .  Did  we  not  feel  relations  we  should  never  attain  to  true 
knowledge,  .  .  .  for  almost  all  our  knowledge  is  of  relations.  .  .  .  We 
never  have  an  isolated  sensation  ;  ...  we  are  therefore  never  without  the 
feeling  of  relation.  ...  An  object  strikes  our  senses  ;  we  see  in  it  only  a 
sensation.  .  .  .  The  relative  is  so  near  the  absolute,  the  relation-feeling  so 
near  the  sensation- feeling,  the  two  are  so  intimately  fused  in  the  composi 
tion  of  the  object,  that  the  relation  appears  to  us  as  part  of  the  sensation 
itself.  It  is  doubtless  to  this  sort  of  fusion  between  sensations  and  feelings 
of  relation  that  the  silence  of  metaphysicians  as  to  the  latter  is  due;  and 
it  is  for  the  same  reason  that  they  have  obstinately  persisted  in  asking  from 
sensation  alone  those  ideas  of  relation  which  it  was  powerless  to  give." 

Dr.  Thomas  Brown  writes  (Lectures,  XLV.  init.):  "  There  is  an  exten 
sive  order  of  our  feelings  which  involve  this  notion  of  relation,  and  which 
consist  indeed  in  the  mere  perception  of  a  relation  of  some  sort.  .  .  . 
Whether  the  relation  be  of  two  or  of  many  external  objects,  or  of  two  or 
many  affections  of  the  mind,  the  feeling  of  this  relation  ...  is  what  I  term 
a  relative  suggestion;  that  phrase  being  the  simplest  which  it  is  possible  to 
employ,  for  expressing,  without  any  theory,  the  mere  fact  of  the  rise  of 
certain  feelings  of  relation,  after  certain  other  feelings  which  precede 
them;  and  therefore,  as  involving  no  particular  theory,  and  simply  ex 
pressive  of  an  undoubted  fact That  the  feelings  of  relation  are  states 

of  the  mind  essentially  different  from  our  simple  perceptions,  or  concep 
tions  of  the  objects,  .  .  .  that  they  are  not  what  Condillac  terms  trans 
formed  sensations,  I  proved  in  a  former  lecture,  when  I  combated  the  ex 
cessive  simplification  of  that  ingenious  but  not  very  accurate  philosopher. 
There  is  an  original  tendency  or  susceptibility  of  the  mind,  by  which,  on 
perceiving  together  different  objects,  we  are  instantly,  without  the  inter 
vention  of  any  other  mental  process,  sensible  of  their  relation  in  certain 
respects,  as  truly  as  there  is  an  original  tendency  or  susceptibility  by  which, 
when  external  objects  are  present  and  have  produced  a  certain  affection  of 
our  sensorial  organ,  we  are  instantly  affected  with  the  primary  elementary 
feelings  of  perception;  and,  I  may  add,  that  as  our  sensations  or  percep 
tions  are  of  various  species,  so  are  there  various  species  of  relations;— the 
number  of  relations,  indeed,  even  of  external  things,  being  almost  infinite, 
while  the  number  of  perceptions  is,  necessarily,  limited  by  that  of  the  ob 
jects  which  have  the  power  of  producing  some  affection  of  our  organs  of 
sensation.  .  .  .  Without  that  susceptibility  of  the  mind  by  which  it  has 
the  feeling  of  relation,  our  consciousness  would  be  as  truly  limited  to  a 
single  point,  as  our  body  would  become,  were  it  possible  to  fetter  it  to  a 
single  atom." 

Mr.  Spencer  is  even  more  explicit.     His  philosophy  is  crude  in  that  he 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  249 

Feelings  of  Tendency. 

So  much  for  the  transitive  states.  But  there  are  other 
unnamed  states  or  qualities  of  states  that  are  just  as  ini- 

seems  to  suppose  that  it  is  only  in  transitive  states  that  outward  relations 
are  known ;  whereas  in  truth  space-relations,  relations  of  contrast,  etc. ,  are 
felt  along  with  their  terms,  in  substantive  states  as  well  as  in  transitive 
states,  as  we  shall  abundantly  see.  Nevertheless  Mr.  Spencer's  passage  is 
so  clear  that  it  also  deserves  to  be  quoted  in  full  (Principles  of  Psychology, 
§  65): 

"  The  proximate  components  of  Mind  are  of  two  broadly-contrasted 
kinds— Feelings  and  the  relations  between  feelings.  Among  the  members 
of  each  group  there  exist  multitudinous  unlikeuesses,  many  of  which  are 
extremely  strong;  but  such  unliken esses  are  small  compared  with  those 
which  distinguish  members  of  the  one  group  from  members  of  the  other. 
Let  us,  in  the  first  place,  consider  what  are  the  characters  which  all  Feel 
ings  have  in  common,  and  what  are  the  characters  which  all  Relations 
between  feelings  have  in  common. 

"Each  feeling,  as  we  here  define  it,  is  any  portion  of  consciousness 
which  occupies  a  place  sufficiently  large  to  give  it  a  perceivable  individ 
uality;  which  has  its  individuality  marked  off  from  adjacent  portions  of 
consciousness  by  qualitative  contrasts;  and  which,  when  introspectively 
contemplated,  appears  to  be  homogeneous.  These  are  the  essentials. 
Obviously  if,  under  introspection,  a  state  of  consciousness  is  decomposable 
into  unlike  parts  that  exist  either  simultaneously  or  successively,  it  is  not 
one  feeling  but  two  or  more.  Obviously  if  it  is  indistinguishable  from  an 
adjacent  portion  of  consciousness,  it  forms  one  with  that  portion — is  not 
an  individual  feeling,  but  part  of  one.  And  obviously  if  it  does  not 
occupy  in  consciousness  an  appreciable  area,  or  an  appreciable  duration,  it 
cannot  be  known  as  a  feeling. 

"A  Relation  between  feelings  is,  on  the  contrary,  characterized  by 
occupying  no  appreciable  part  of  consciousness.  Take  away  the  terms  it 
unites,  and  it  disappears  along  with  them;  having  no  independent  place, 
no  individuality  of  its  own.  It  is  true  that,  under  an  ultimate  analysis, 
what  we  call  a  relation  proves  to  be  itself  a  kind  of  feeling— the  momen 
tary  feeling  accompanying  the  transition  from  one  conspicuous  feeling  to 
an  adjacent  conspicuous  feeling.  And  it  is  true  that,  notwithstanding  its 
extreme  brevity,  its  qualitative  character  is  appreciable;  for  relations  are 
(as  we  shall  hereafter  see)  distinguishable  from  one  another  only  by  the 
unlikenesses  of  the  feelings  which  accompany  the  momentary  transitions. 
Each  relational  feeling  may,  in  fact,  be  regarded  as  one  of  those  nervous 
shocks  which  we  suspect  to  be  the  units  of  composition  of  feelings;  and, 
though  instantaneous,  it  is  known  as  of  greater  or  less  strength,  and  as 
taking  place  with  greater  or  less  facility.  But  the  contrast  between  these 
relational  feelings  and  what  we  ordinarily  call  feelings  is  so  strong  that 
we  must  class  them  apart.  Their  extreme  brevity,  their  small  variety,  and 
their  dependence  on  the  terms  they  unite,  differentiate  them  in  an  unmis 
takable  way. 

"  Perhaps  it  will  be  well  to  recognize  more  fully  the  truth  that  this  dis 


250  PSYCHOLOGY. 

portant  and  just  as  cognitive  as  they,  and  just  as  much 
unrecognized  by  the  traditional  sensationalist  and  intellect- 
ualist  philosophies  of  mind.  The  first  fails  to  find  them 
at  all,  the  second  finds  their  cognitive  function,  but  denies 
that  anything  in  the  way  of  feeling  has  a  share  in  bringing 
it  about.  Examples  will  make  clear  what  these  inarticu 
late  psychoses,  due  to  waxing  and  waning  excitements  of 
the  brain,  are  like.* 

Suppose   three  successive  persons  say  to  us:  'Wait!' 
'  Hark  ! '     '  Look  !  '      Our    consciousness    is    thrown   into 


tiuction  cannot  be  absolute.  Besides  admitting  that,  as  an  element  of 
consciousness,  a  relation  is  a  momentary  feeling,  we  must  also  admit  that 
just  as  a  relation  can  have  no  existence  apart  from  the  feelings  which  form 
its  terms,  so  a  feeling  can  exist  only  by  relations  to  other  feelings  which 
limit  it  in  space  or  time  or  both.  Strictly  speaking,  neither  a  feeling  nor 
a  relation  is  an  independent  element  of  consciousness  :  there  is  throughout 
a  dependence  such  that  the  appreciable  areas  of  consciousness  occupied  by 
feelings  can  no  more  possess  individualities  apart  from  the  relations  which 
link  them,  than  these  relations  can  possess  individualities  apart  from  the 
feelings  they  link.  The  essential  distinction  between  the  two,  then, 
appears  to  be  that  whereas  a  relational  feeling  is  a  portion  of  consciousness 
inseparable  into  parts,  a  feeling,  ordinarily  so  called,  is  a  portion  of  con 
sciousness  that  admits  imaginary  division  into  like  parts  which  are  related 
to  one  another  in  sequence  or  coexistence.  A  feeling  proper  is  either 
made  up  of  like  parts  that  occupy  time,  or  it  is  made  up  of  like  parts  that 
occupy  space,  or  both.  In  any  case,  a  feeling  proper  is  an  aggregate  of 
related  like  parts,  while  a  relational  feeling  is  undecomposable.  And  this 
is  exactly  the  contrast  between  the  two  which  must  result  if,  as  we  have 
inferred,  feelings  are  composed  of  units  of  feelings,  or  shocks'." 

*  M.  Paulhan  (Revue  Philosophique,  xx.  455-6),  after  speaking  of  the 
faint  mental  images  of  objects  and  emotions,  says:  "  We  find  other  vaguer 
states  still,  upon  which  attention  seldom  rests,  except  in  persons  who  by 
nature  or  profession  are  addicted  to  internal  observation.  It  is  even  diffi 
cult  to  name  them  precisely,  for  they  are  little  known  and  not  classed  ; 
but  we  may  cite  as  an  example  of  them  that  peculiar  impression  which  we 
feel  when,  strongly  preoccupied  by  a  certain  subject,  we  nevertheless  are 
engaged  with,  and  have  our  attention  almost  completely  absorbed  by,  mat 
ters  quite  disconnected  therewithal.  We  do  not  then  exactly  think  of  the 
object  of  our  preoccupation;  we  do  not  represent  it  in  a  clear  manner;  and 
yet  our  mind  is  not  as  it  would  be  without  this  preoccupation.  Its  object, 
absent  from  consciousness,  is  nevertheless  represented  there  by  a  peculiar 
unmistakable  impression,  which  often  persists  long  and  is  a  strong  feeling, 
although  so  obscure  for  our  intelligence."  "  A  mental  sign  of  the  kind  is 
the  unfavorable  disposition  left  in  our  mind  towards  an  individual  by  pain- 
ul  incidents  erewhile  experienced  and  now  perhaps  forgotten.  The  sign 
emains,  but  is  not  understood;  its  definite  meaning  is  lost."  (P.  458.) 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  251 

three  quite  different  attitudes  of  expectancy,  although  no 
definite  object  is  before  it  in  any  one  of  the  three  cases. 
Leaving  out  different  actual  bodily  attitudes,  and  leav 
ing  out  the  reverberating  images  of  the  three  words,  which 
are  of  course  diverse,  probably  no  one  will  deny  the  exist 
ence  of  a  residual  conscious  affection,  a  sense  of  the  direc 
tion  from  which  an  impression  is  about  to  come,  although 
no  positive  impression  is  yet  there.  Meanwhile  we  have 
no  names  for  the  psychoses  in  question  but  the  names 
hark,  look,  and  wait. 

Suppose  we  try  to  recall  a  forgotten  name.  The  state 
of  our  consciousness  is  peculiar.  There  is  a  gap  therein  ; 
but  no  mere  gap.  It  is  a  gap  that  is  intensely  active.  A 
sort  of  wraith  of  the  name  is  in  it,  beckoning  us  in  a  given 
direction,  making  us  at  moments  tingle  with  the  sense  of 
our  closeness,  and  then  letting  us  sink  back  without  the 
longed-for  term.  If  wrong  names  are  proposed  to  us,  this 
singularly  definite  gap  acts  immediately  so  as  to  negate 
them.  They  do  not  fit  into  its  mould.  And  the  gap  of  one 
word  does  not  feel  like  the  gap  of  another,  all  empty  of 
content  as  both  might  seem  necessarily  to  be  when  described 
as  gaps.  When  I  vainly  try  to  recall  the  name  of  Spalding, 
my  consciousness  is  far  removed  from  what  it  is  when  1 
vainly  try  to  recall  the  name  of  Bowles.  Here  some  ingen 
ious  persons  will  say  :  "  How  can  the  two  consciousnesses 
be  different  when  the  terms  which  might  make  them  differ 
ent  are  not  there  ?  All  that  is  there,  so  long  as  the  effort 
to  recall  is  vain,  is  the  bare  effort  itself.  How  should  that 
differ  in  the  two  cases  ?  You  are  making  it  seem  to  differ 
by  prematurely  filling  it  out  with  the  different  names, 
although  these,  by  the  hypothesis,  have  not  yet  come. 
Stick  to  the  two  efforts  as  they  are,  without  naming  them 
after  facts  not  yet  existent,  and  you'll  be  quite  unable  to 
designate  any  point  in  which  they  differ."  Designate,  truly 
enough.  We  can  only  designate  the  difference  by  borrow 
ing  the  names  of  objects  not  yet  in  the  mind.  Which  is  to 
say  that  our  psychological  vocabulary  is  wholly  inadequate 
to  name  the  differences  that  exist,  even  such  strong  differ 
ences  as  these.  But  namelessness  is  compatible  with 
existence.  There  are  innumerable  consciousnesses  of 


252  PSYCHOLOGY. 

emptiness,  no  one  of  which  taken  in  itself  has  a  name, 
but  all  different  from  each  other.  The  ordinary  way  is  to 
assume  that  they  are  all  emptinesses  of  consciousness,  and 
so  the  same  state.  But  the  feeling  of  an  absence  is  toto  coelo 
other  than  the  absence  of  a  feeling.  It  is  an  intense  feel 
ing.  The  rhythm  of  a  lost  word  may  be  there  without  a 
sound  to  clothe  it ;  or  the  evanescent  sense  of  something 
which  is  the  initial  vowel  or  consonant  may  mock  us  fit 
fully,  without  growing  more  distinct.  Every  one  must 
know  the  tantalizing  effect  of  the  blank  rhythm  of  some 
forgotten  verse,  restlessly  dancing  in  one's  mind,  striving 
to  be  filled  out  with  words. 

Again,  what  is  the  strange  difference  between  an  expe 
rience  tasted  for  the  first  time  and  the  same  experience 
recognized  as  familiar,  as  having  been  enjoyed  before, 
though  we  cannot  name  it  or  say  where  or  when  ?  A  tune, 
an  odor,  a  flavor  sometimes  carry  this  inarticulate  feeling 
of  their  familiarity  so  deep  into  our  consciousness  that  we 
are  fairly  shaken  by  its  mysterious  emotional  power.  But 
strong  and  characteristic  as  this  psychosis  is — it  probably 
is  due  to  the  submaximal  excitement  of  wide- spreading 
associational  brain-tracts — the  only  name  we  have  for  all 
its  shadings  is  '  sense  of  familiarity.' 

When  we  read  such  phrases  as  '  naught  but,'  '  either 
one  or  the  other,'  'a  is  b,  but,'  'although  it  is,  neverthe 
less,'  '  it  is  an  excluded  middle,  there  is  no  tertium  quid,' 
and  a  host  of  other  verbal  skeletons  of  logical  relation,  is  it 
true  that  there  is  nothing  more  in  our  minds  than  the 
words  themselves  as  they  pass  ?  What  then  is  the  mean 
ing  of  the  words  which  we  think  we  understand  as  we  read  ? 
What  makes  that  meaning  different  in  one  phrase  from 
what  it  is  in  the  other?  'Who?'  'When?'  'Where?' 
Is  the  difference  of  felt  meaning  in  these  interrogatives 
nothing  more  than  their  difference  of  sound?  And  is  it 
not  (just  like  the  difference  of  sound  itself)  known  and 
understood  in  an  affection  of  consciousness  correlative  to 
it,  though  so  impalpable  to  direct  examination  ?  Is  not 
the  same  true  of  such  negatives  as  '  no,'  '  never  '  '  not 

yet'? 

The  truth  is  that  large  tracts  of  human  speech  are  noth- 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  253 

ing  but  signs  of  direction  in  thought,  of  which  direction  we 
nevertheless  have  an  acutelj  discriminative  sense,  though 
no  definite  sensorial  image  plays  any  part  in  it  whatsoever. 
Sensorial  images  are  stable  psychic  facts;  we  can  hold 
them  still  and  look  at  them  as  long  as  we  like.  These  bare 
images  of  logical  movement,  on  the  contrary,  are  psychic 
transitions,  always  on  the  wing,  so  to  speak,  and  not  to  be 
glimpsed  except  in  flight.  Their  function  is  to  lead  from 
one  set  of  images  to  another.  As  they  pass,  we  feel  both 
the  waxing  and  the  waning  images  in  a  way  altogether 
peculiar  and  a  way  quite  different  from  the  way  of  their 
full  presence.  If  we  try  to  hold  fast  the  feeling  of  direc 
tion,  the  full  presence  comes  and  the  feeling  of  direction  is 
lost.  The  blank  verbal  scheme  of  the  logical  movement 
gives  us  the  fleeting  sense  of  the  movement  as  we  read  it, 
quite  as  well  as  does  a  rational  sentence  awakening  defi 
nite  imaginations  by  its  words. 

What  is  that  first  instantaneous  glimpse  of  some  one's 
meaning  which  we  have,  when  in  vulgar  phrase  we  say  we 
'  twig '  it  ?  Surely  an  altogether  specific  affection  of  our 
mind.  And  has  the  reader  never  asked  himself  what  kind 
of  a  mental  fact  is  his  intention  of  saying  a  thing  before  he 
has  said  it  ?  It  is  an  entirely  definite  intention,  distinct 
from  all  other  intentions,  an  absolutely  distinct  state  of 
consciousness,  therefore  ;  and  yet  how  much  of  it  consists  of 
definite  sensorial  images,  either  of  words  or  of  things? 
Hardly  anything !  Linger,  and  the  words  and  things  come 
into  the  mind ;  the  anticipatory  intention,  the  divination  is 
there  no  more.  But  as  the  words  that  replace  it  arrive,  it 
welcomes  them  successively  and  calls  them  right  if  they 
agree  with  it,  it  rejects  them  and  calls  them  wrong  if  they 
do  not.  It  has  therefore  a  nature  of  its  own  of  the  most 
positive  sort,  and  yet  what  can  we  say  about  it  without 
using  words  that  belong  to  the  later  mental  facts  that 
replace  it  ?  The  intention  to-say -so-and-so  is  the  only  name 
it  can  receive.  One  may  admit  that  a  good  third  of  our 
psychic  life  consists  in  these  rapid  premonitory  perspective 
views  of  schemes  of  thought  not  yet  articulate.  How 
comes  it  about  that  a  man  reading  something  aloud  for  the 
first  time  is  able  immediately  to  emphasize  all  his  words 


254  PSYCHOLOGY. 

aright,  unless  from  the  very  first  he  have  a  sense  of  at 
least  the  form  of  the  sentence  yet  to  come,  which  sense  is 
fused  with  his  consciousness  of  the  present  word,  and  modi 
fies  its  emphasis  in  his  mind  so  as  to  make  him  give  it 
the  proper  accent  as  he  utters  it  ?  Emphasis  of  this  kind 
is  almost  altogether  a  matter  of  grammatical  construction. 
If  we  read  ( no  more  '  we  expect  presently  to  come  upon  a 
1  than';  if  we  read  '  however '  at  the  outset  of  a  sentence 
it  is  a  '  yet,'  a  '  still,'  or  a  '  nevertheless,'  that  we  expect. 
A  noun  in  a  certain  position  demands  a  verb  in  a  certain 
mood  and  number,  in  another  position  it  expects  a  relative 
pronoun.  Adjectives  call  for  nouns,  verbs  for  adverbs, 
etc.,  etc.  And  this  foreboding  of  the  coming  grammatical 
scheme  combined  with  each  successive  uttered  word  is  so 
practically  accurate  that  a  reader  incapable  of  understanding 
four  ideas  of  the  book  he  is  reading  aloud,  can  nevertheless 
read  it  with  the  most  delicately  modulated  expression  of 
intelligence. 

Some  will  interpret  these  facts  by  calling  them  all  cases 
in  which  certain  images,  by  laws  of  association,  awaken 
others  so  very  rapidly  that  we  think  afterwards  we  felt  the 
very  tendencies  of  the  nascent  images  to  arise,  before  they  were 
actually  there.  For  this  school  the  only  possible  materials 
of  consciousness  are  images  of  a  perfectly  definite  nature. 
Tendencies  exist,  but  they  are  facts  for  the  outside  psychol 
ogist  rather  than  for  the  subject  of  the  observation.  The 
tendency  is  thus  a  psychical  zero  ;  only  its  results  are  felt 

Now  what  I  contend  for,  and  accumulate  examples  to 
show,  is  that  '  tendencies '  are  not  only  descriptions  from 
without,  but  that  they  are  among  the  objects  of  the  stream, 
which  is  thus  aware  of  them  from  within,  and  must  be 
described  as  in  very  large  measure  constituted  of.  feelings  of 
tendency,  often  so  vague  that  we  are  unable  to  name  them 
at  all.  It  is,  in  short,  the  re-instatement  of  the  vague  to  its 
proper  place  in  our  mental  life  which  I  am  so  anxious  to 
press  on  the  attention.  Mr.  Galton  and  Prof.  Huxley  have, 
as  we  shall  see  in  Chapter  XVIII,  made  one  step  in  advance 
in  exploding  the  ridiculous  theory  of  Hume  and  Berkeley 
that  we  can  have  no  images  but  of  perfectly  definite  things. 
Another  is  made  in  the  overthrow  of  the  equally  ridiculous 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  255 

notion  that,  whilst  simple  objective  qualities  are  revealed 
to  our  knowledge  in  subjective  feelings,  relations  are  not. 
But  these  reforms  are  not  half  sweeping  and  radical  enough. 
What  must  be  admitted  is  that  the  definite  images  of  tra 
ditional  psychology  form  but  the  very  smallest  part  of  our 
minds  as  they  actually  live.  The  traditional  psychology, 
talks  like  one  who  should  say  a  river  consists  of  nothing 
but  pailsful,  spoonsful,  quartpotsful,  barrelsful,  and  other 
moulded  forms  of  water.  Even  were  the  pails  and  the  pots 
all  actually  standing  in  the  stream,  still  between  them  the 
free  water  would  continue  to  flow.  It  is  just  this  free  water 
of  consciousness  that  psychologists  resolutely  overlook, 
Every  definite  image  in  the  mind  is  steeped  and  dyed  in 
the  free  water  that  flows  round  it.  With  it  goes  the  sense 
of  its  relations,  near  and  remote,  the  dying  echo  of  whence 
it  came  to  us,  the  dawning  sense  of  whither  it  is  to  lead. 
The  significance,  the  value,  of  the  image  is  all  in  this  halo 
or  penumbra  that  surrounds  and  escorts  it, — or  rather  that 
is  fused  into  one  with  it  and  has  become  bone  of  its  bone 
and  flesh  of  its  flesh ;  leaving  it,  it  is  true,  an  image  of  the 
same  thing  it  was  before,  but  making  it  an  image  of  that 
thing  newly  taken  and  freshly  understood. 

What  is  that  shadowy  scheme  of  the  '  form '  of  an 
opera,  play,  or  book,  which  remains  in  our  mind  and  on 
which  we  pass  judgment  when  the  actual  thing  is  done  V 
What  is  our  notion  of  a  scientific  or  philosophical  system  ? 
Great  thinkers  have  vast  premonitory  glimpses  of  schemes 
of  relation  between  terms,  which  hardly  even  as  verbal 
images  enter  the  mind,  so  rapid  is  the  whole  process.*  We 
all  of  us  have  this  permanent  consciousness  of  whither  our 
thought  is  going.  It  is  a  feeling  like  any  other,  a  feeling 

*  Mozart  describes  thus  his  manner  of  composing :  First  bits  and  crumbs 
of  the  piece  come  and  gradually  join  together  in  his  mind  ;  then  the  soul 
getting  warmed  to  the  work,  the  thing  grows  more  and  more,  "  and  I 
spread  it  out  broader  and  clearer,  and  at  last  it  gets  almost  finished  in  my 
head,  even  when  it  is  a  long  piece,  so  that  I  can  see  the  whole  of  it  at  a 
single  glance  in  my  mind,  as  if  it  were  a  beautiful  painting  or  a  handsome 
human  being  ;  in  which  way  I  do  not  hear  it  in  my  imagination  at  all  as 
a  succession — the  way  it  must  come  later — but  all  at  once,  as  it  were.  ]( 
is  a  rare  feast !  All  the  inventing  and  making  goes  on  in  me  as  in  a  beau 
tiful  strong  dream.  But  the  best  of  all  is  the  hearing  of  it  all  at  once,'' 


256  PSYCHOLOGY 

of  what  thoughts  are  next  to  arise,  before  they  have  arisen. 
This  field  of  view  of  consciousness  varies  very  much  in 
extent,  depending  largely  on  the  degree  of  mental  freshness 
or  fatigue.  When  very  fresh,  our  minds  carry  an  immense 
horizon  with  them.  The  present  image  shoots  its  perspec 
tive  far  before  it,  irradiating  in  advance  the  regions  in  which 
lie  the  thoughts  as  yet  unborn.  Under  ordinary  conditions 
the  halo  of  felt  relations  is  much  more  circumscribed.  And 
in  states  of  extreme  brain-fag  the  horizon  is  narrowed 
almost  to  the  passing  word, — the  associative  machinery, 
however,  providing  for  the  next  word  turning  up  in  orderly 
sequence,  until  at  last  the  tired  thinker  is  led  to  some  kind 
of  a  conclusion.  At  certain  moments  he  may  find  himself 
doubting  whether  his  thoughts  have  not  come  to  a  full  stop  ; 
but  the  vague  sense  of  a  plus  ultra  makes  him  ever  struggle 
on  towards  a  more  definite  expression  of  what  it  may  be  ; 
whilst  the  slowness  of  his  utterance  shows  how  difficult, 
under  such  conditions,  the  labor  of  thinking  must  be. 

The  awareness  that  our  definite  thought  has  come  to  a 
stop  is  an  entirely  different  thing  from  the  awareness  that 
our  thought  is  definitively  completed.  The  expression  of 
the  latter  state  of  mind  is  the  falling  inflection  which  be 
tokens  that  the  sentence  is  ended,  and  silence.  The  ex 
pression  of  the  former  state  is  '  hemming  and  hawing,'  or 
else  such  phrases  as  ' et  cetera,'  or  'and  so  forth.'  But 
notice  that  every  part  of  the  sentence  to  be  left  incomplete 
feels  differently  as  it  passes,  by  reason  of  the  premonition 
we  have  that  we  shall  be  unable  to  end  it.  The  '  and  so 
forth '  casts  its  shadow  back,  and  is  as  integral  a  part  of 
the  object  of  the  thought  as  the  distinctest  of  images 
would  be. 

Again,  when  we  use  a  common  noun,  such  as  man,  in  a 
universal  sense,  as  signifying  all  possible  men,  we  are  fully 
aware  of  this  intention  on  our  part,  and  distinguish  it  care 
fully  from  our  intention  when  we  mean  a  certain  group  of 
men,  or  a  solitary  individual  before  us.  In  the  chapter  on 
Conception  we  shall  see  how  important  this  difference  of 
intention  is.  It  casts  its  influence  over  the  whole  of  the 
sentence,  both  before  and  after  the  spot  in  which  the  word 
man  is  used. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  257 

Nothing  is  easier  than  to  symbolize  all  these  facts  in 
terms  of  brain-action.  Just  as  the  echo  of  the  whence-,  the 
sense  of  the  starting  point  of  our  thought,  is  probably 
due  to  the  dying  excitement  of  processes  but  a  moment 
since  vividly  aroused  ;  so  the  sense  of  the  whither,  the  fore 
taste  of  the  terminus,  must  be  due  to  the  waxing  excite 
ment  of  tracts  or  processes  which,  a  moment  hence,  will  be 
the  cerebral  correlatives  of  some  thing  which  a  moment 
hence  will  be  vividly  present  to  the  thought.  Represented 
by  a  curve,  the  neurosis  underlying  consciousness  must  at 
any  moment  be  like  this : 


FIG  27. 

Each  point  of  the  horizontal  line  stands  for  some 
brain-tract  or  process.  The  height  of  the  curve  above 
the  line  stands  for  the  intensity  of  the  process.  All  the 
processes  are  present,  in  the  intensities  shown  by  the 
curve.  But  those  before  the  latter's  apex  ivere  more  in 
tense  a  moment  ago  ;  those  after  it  iviU  be  more  intense  a 
moment  hence.  If  I  recite  a,  b,  c,  d,  e,f,  g,  at  the  moment 
of  uttering  c?,  neither  a,  b,  c,  nor  e,  /,  g,  are  out  of  my 
consciousness  altogether,  but  both,  after  their  respective 
fashions,  '  mix  their  dim  lights '  with  the  stronger  one  of 
the  d,  because  their  neuroses  are  both  awake  in  some 
degree. 

There  is  a  common  class  of  mistakes  which  shows  how 
brain-processes  begin  to  be  excited  before  the  thoughts 
attached  to  them  are  due — due,  that  is,  in  substantive  and 
vivid  form.  I  mean  those  mistakes  of  speech  or  writing 
by  which,  in  Dr.  Carpenter's  words,  "  we  mispronounce  or 
misspell  a  word,  by  introducing  into  it  a  letter  or  syllable 
of  some  other,  whose  turn  is  shortly  to  come  ;  or,  it  may  be, 
the  whole  of  the  anticipated  word  is  substituted  for  the  one 


258  PSYCHOLOGY 

which  ought  to  have  been  expressed."*  In  these  cases 
one  of  two  things  must  have  happened:  either  some  local 
accident  of  nutrition  blocks  the  process  that  is  due,  so  that 
other  processes  discharge  that  ought  as  yet  to  be  but  nas- 
cently  aroused;  or  some  opposite  local  accident  furthers 
the  latter  processes  and  makes  them  explode  before  their 
time.  In  the  chapter  on  Association  of  Ideas,  numerous 
instances  will  come  before  us  of  the  actual  effect  on  con 
sciousness  of  neuroses  not  yet  maximally  aroused. 

It  is  just  like  the  '  overtones '  in  music.  Different  in. 
struments  give  the  '  same  note,'  but  each  in  a  different 
voice,  because  each  gives  more  than  that  note,  namely,  vari 
ous  upper  harmonics  of  it  which  differ  from  one  instrument 
to  another.  They  are  not  separately  heard  by  the  ear  ; 
they  blend  with  the  fundamental  note,  and  suffuse  it,  and 
alter  it ;  and  even  so  do  the  waxing  and  waning  brain- 
processes  at  every  moment  blend  with  and  suffuse  and  alter 
the  psychic  effect  of  the  processes  which  are  at  their  cul 
minating  point. 

Let  us  use  the  words  psychic  overtone,  suffusion,  or  fringe, 
to  designate  the  influence  of  a  faint  brain-process  upon  our 
thought,  as  it  makes  it  aware  of  relations  and  objects  but 
dimly  perceived. f 

If  we  then  consider  the  cognitive  function  of  different 


*  Mental  Physiology,  §  236.    Dr.  Carpenter's  explanation  differs  materi 
ally  from  that  given  in  the  text. 

f  Cf.  also  S.  Strieker  :  Vorlesungen  tlber  allg.  u.  exp.  Pathologic  (1879), 
pp.  462-3,  501,  547;  Romanes:  Origin  of  Human  Faculty,  p.  82.  It  is  so 
hard  to  make  one's  self  clear  that  I  may  advert  to  a  misunderstanding  of 
my  views  by  the  late  Prof.  Thos.  Maguire  of  Dublin  (Lectures  on  Philoso 
phy,  1885).  This  author  considers  that  by  the  '  fringe '  I  mean  some  sort 
-»f  psychic  material  by  which  sensations  in  themselves  separate  are  made 
to  cohere  together,  and  wittily  says  that  I  ought  to  "  see  that  uniting  sensa 
tions  by  their  '  fringes '  is  more  vague  than  to  construct  the  universe  out 
of  oysters  by  platting  their  beards  "  (p.  211).  But  the  fringe,  as  I  use  the 
word,  means  nothing  like  this  ;  it  is  part  of  the  object  cognized,—  substantive 
Dualities  and  things  appearing  to  the  mind  in  &  fringe  of  relations.  Some  parts 
—the  transitive  parts— of  our  stream  of  thought  cognize  the  relations  rather 
than  the  things  ;  but  both  the  transitive  and  the  substantive  parts  form  one 
continuous  stream,  with  no  discrete  '  sensations '  in  it  such  as  Prof.  MK 
guire  supposes,  and  supposes  ip,e  to  suppose,  to  be  their 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  259 

states  of  mind,  we  may  feel  assured  that  the  difference  be 
tween  those  that  are  mere  *  acquaintance,'  and  those  that 
are  '  knowledges-a&ow£ '  (see  p.  221)  is  reducible  almost 
entirely  to  the  absence  or  presence  of  psychic  fringes  or 
overtones.  Knowledge  about  a  thing  is  knowledge  of  its 
relations.  Acquaintance  with  it  is  limitation  to  the  bare 
impression  which  it  makes.  Of  most  of  its  relations  we  are 
only  aware  in  the  penumbral  nascent  way  of  a  '  fringe '  of 
unarticulated  affinities  about  it.  And,  before  passing  to  the 
next  topic  in  order,  I  must  say  a  little  of  this  sense  of 
affinity,  as  itself  one  of  the  most  interesting  features  of  the 
subjective  stream. 

In  all  our  voluntary  thinking  there  is  some  topic  or 
subject  about  which  all  the  members  of  the  thought  revolve. 
Half  the  time  this  topic  is  a  problem,  a  gap  we  cannot 
yet  fill  with  a  definite  picture,  word,  or  phrase,  but  which,  in 
the  manner  described  some  time  back,  influences  us  in  an 
intensely  active  and  determinate  psychic  way.  Whatever 
may  be  the  images  and  phrases  that  pass  before  us,  we  feel 
their  relation  to  this  aching  gap.  To  fill  it  up  is  our 
thoughts'  destiny.  Some  bring  us  nearer  to  that  consum 
mation.  Some  the  gap  negates  as  quite  irrelevant.  Each 
swims  in  a  felt  fringe  of  relations  of  which  the  aforesaid 
gap  is  the  term.  Or  instead  of  a  definite  gap  we  may 
merely  carry  a  mood  of  interest  about  with  us.  Then, 
however  vague  the  mood,  it  will  still  act  in  the  same  way, 
throwing  a  mantle  of  felt  affinity  over  such  representa 
tions,  entering  the  mind,  as  suit  it,  and  tingeing  with  the 
feeling  of  tediousness  or  discord  all  those  with  which  it 
has  no  concern. 

Relation,  then,  to  our  topic  or  interest  is  constantly  felt 
in  the  fringe,  and  particularly  the  relation  of  harmony  and 
discord,  of  furtherance  or  hindrance  of  the  topic.  When 
the  sense  of  furtherance  is  there,  we  are  '  all  right ; '  with 
the  sense  of  hindrance  we  are  dissatisfied  and  perplexed, 
and  cast  about  us  for  other  thoughts.  Now  any  thought 
the  quality  of  whose  fringe  lets  us  feel  ourselves  'all  right,' 
is  an  acceptable  member  of  our  thinking,  whatever  kind  of 
thought  it  may  otherwise  be.  Provided  we  only  feel  it 
to  have  a  place  in  the  scheme  of  relations  in  which  the  in- 


260  PSYCHOLOGY. 

teresting  topic  also  lies,  that  is  quite  sufficient  to  make  of 
it  a  relevant  and  appropriate  portion  of  our  train  of  ideas. 

For  the  important  thing  about  a  train  of  thought  is  its 
conclusion.  That  is  the  meaning,  or,  as  we  say,  the  topic  of 
the  thought.  That  is  what  abides  when  all  its  other  mem 
bers  have  faded  from  memory.  Usually  this  conclusion  is 
a  word  or  phrase  or  particular  image,  or  practical  attitude 
or  resolve,  whether  rising  to  answer  a  problem  or  fill  a 
pre-existing  gap  that  worried  us,  or  whether  accidentally 
stumbled  on  in  revery.  In  either  case  it  stands  out  from 
the  other  segments  of  the  stream  by  reason  of  the  peculiar 
interest  attaching  to  it.  This  interest  arrests  it,  makes  a 
sort  of  crisis  of  it  when  it  comes,  induces  attention  upon  it 
and  makes  us  treat  it  in  a  substantive  way. 

The  parts  of  the  stream  that  precede  these  substantive 
conclusions  are  but  the  means  of  the  latter's  attainment. 
And,  provided  the  same  conclusion  be  reached,  the  means 
may  be  as  mutable  as  we  like,  for  the  '  meaning '  of  the  stream 
of  thought  will  be  the  same.  What  difference  does  it  make 
what  the  means  are  ?  "  Qu'importe  le  flacon,  pourvu  qu'on 
ait  I'ivresse?"  The  relative  unimportance  of  the  means 
appears  from  the  fact  that  when  the  conclusion  is  there,  we 
have  always  forgotten  most  of  the  steps  preceding  its  attain 
ment.  When  we  have  uttered  a  proposition,  we  are  rarely 
able  a  moment  afterwards  to  recall  our  exact  words,  though 
we  can  express  it  in  different  words  easily  enough.  The 
practical  upshot  of  a  book  we  read  remains  with  us,  though 
we  may  not  recall  one  of  its  sentences. 

The  only  paradox  would  seem  to  lie  in  supposing  that 
the  fringe  of  felt  affinity  and  discord  can  be  the  same  in 
two  heterogeneous  sets  of  images.  Take  a  train  of  words 
passing  through  the  mind  and  leading  to  a  certain  conclu 
sion  on  the  one  hand,  and  on  the  other  hand  an  almost 
wordless  set  of  tactile,  visual  and  other  fancies  leading  to 
the  same  conclusion.  Can  the  halo,  fringe,  or  scheme  in 
which  we  feel  the  words  to  lie  be  the  same  as  that  in  which 
we  feel  the  images  to  lie  ?  Does  not  the  discrepancy  of 
terms  involve  a  discrepancy  of  felt  relations  among  them  ? 

If  the  terms  be  taken  qua  mere  sensations,  it  assur 
edly  does.  For  instance,  the  words  may  rhyme  with  each 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  261 

other, — the  visual  images  can  have  no  such  affinity  as  that. 
But  qua  thoughts,  qua  sensations  understood,  the  words  have 
contracted  by  long  association  fringes  of  mutual  repugnance 
or  affinity  with  each  other  and  with  the  conclusion,  which 
run  exactly  parallel  with  like  fringes  in  the  visual,  tactile 
and  other  ideas.  The  most  important  element  of  these 
fringes  is,  I  repeat,  the  mere  feeling  of  harmony  or  discord, 
of  a  right  or  wrong  direction  in  the  thought.  Dr.  Camp 
bell  has,  so  far  as  I  know,  made  the  best  analysis  of  this 
fact,  and  his  words,  often  quoted,  deserve  to  be  quoted  again. 
The  chapter  is  entitled  "What  is  the  cause  that  nonsense 
so  often  escapes  being  detected,  both  by  the  writer  and  by 
the  reader  ?"  The  author,  in  answering  this  question,  makes 
(inter  alia)  the  following  remarks :  * 

"That  connection  [he  says]  or  relation  which  comes  gradually  to  sub 
sist  among  the  different  words  of  a  language,  in  the  minds  of  those  who 
speak  it,  ...  is  merely  consequent  on  this,  that  those  words  are 
employed  as  signs  of  connected  or  related  things.  It  is  an  axiom  in 
geometry  that  things  equal  to  the  same  thing  are  equal  to  one  another. 
It  may,  in  like  manner,  be  admitted  as  an  axiom  in  psychology  that 
ideas  associated  by  the  same  idea  will  associate  one  another.  Hence  it 
will  happen  that  if,  from  experiencing  the  connection  of  two  things, 
there  results,  as  infallibly  there  will  result,  an  association  between  the 
ideas  or  notions  annexed  to  them,  as  each  idea  will  moreover  be  asso 
ciated  by  its  sign,  there  will  likewise  be  an  association  between  the  ideas 
of  the  signs.  Hence  the  sounds  considered  as  signs  will  be  conceived  to 
have  a  connection  analogous  to  that  which  subsisteth  among  the  things 
signified;  I  say,  the  sounds  considered  as  signs;  for  this  way  of  consid 
ering  them  constantly  attends  us  in  speaking,  writing,  hearing,  and 
reading.  When  we  purposely  abstract  from  it,  and  regard  them  merely 
as  sounds,  we  are  instantly  sensible  that  they  are  quite  unconnected,  and 
have  no  other  relation  than  what  ariseth  from  similitude  of  tone  or 
accent.  But  to  consider  them  in  this  manner  commonly  results  from 
previous  design,  and  requires  a  kind  of  effort  which  is  not  exerted  in  the 
ordinary  use  of  speech.  In  ordinary  use  they  are  regarded  solely  as 
signs,  or,  rather,  they  are  confounded  with  the  things  they  signify;  the 
consequence  of  which  is  that,  in  the  manner  just  now  explained,  we  come 
insensibly  to  conceive  a  connection  among  them  of  a  very  different  sort 
from  that  of  which  sounds  are  naturally  susceptible. 

"Now  this  conception,  habit,  or  tendency  of  the  mind,  call  it  which 
you  please,  is  considerably  strengthened  by  the  frequent  use  of  language 
and  by  the  structure  of  it.  Language  is  the  sole  channel  through  which 

*  George  Campbell:  Philosophy  of  Rhetoric,  book  n.  chap.  vii. 


262  PSYCHOLOGY. 

we  communicate  our  knowledge  and  discoveries  to  others,  and  through 
which  the  knowledge  and  discoveries  of  others  are  communicated  to  us. 
By  reiterated  recourse  to  this  medium,  it  necessarily  happens  that 
when  things  are  related  to  each  other,  the  words  signifying  those 
things  are  more  commonly  brought  together  in  discourse.  Hence  the 
words  and  names  by  themselves,  by  customary  vicinity,  contract  in  the 
fancy  a  relation  additional  to  that  which  they  derive  purely  from  being 
the  symbols  of  related  things.  Farther,  this  tendency  is  strengthened 
by  the  structure  of  language.  All  languages  whatever,  even  the  most 
barbarous,  as  far  as  hath  yet  appeared,  are  of  a  regular  and  analogical 
make.  The  consequence  is  that  similar  relations  in  things  will  be  ex 
pressed  similarly  ;  that  is,  by  similar  inflections,  derivations,  composi 
tions,  arrangement  of  words,  or  juxtaposition  of  particles,  according  to 
the  genius  or  grammatical  form  of  the  particular  tongue.  Now  as,  by 
the  habitual  use  of  a  language  (even  though  it  were  quite  irregular), 
the  signs  would  insensibly  become  connected  in  the  imagination  wher 
ever  the  things  signified  are  connected  in  nature,  so,  by  the  regular 
structure  of  a  language,  this  connection  among  the  signs  is  conceived 
as  analogous  to  that  which  subsisteth  among  their  archetypes." 

If  we  know  English  and  French  and  begin  a  sentence  in 
French,  all  the  later  words  that  come  are  French  ;  we  hardly 
ever  drop  into  English.  And  this  affinity  of  the  French 
words  for  each  other  is  not  something  merely  operating  me 
chanically  as  a  brain-law,  it  is  something  we  feel  at  the  time. 
Our  understanding  of  a  French  sentence  heard  never  falls 
to  so  low  an  ebb  that  we  are  not  aware  that  the  words  lin 
guistically  belong  together.  Our  attention  can  hardly  so 
wander  that  if  an  English  word  be  suddenly  introduced  we 
shall  not  start  at  the  change.  Such  a  vague  sense  as  this 
of  the  words  belonging  together  is  the  very  minimum  of 
fringe  that  can  accompany  them,  if  'thought'  at  all. 
Usually  the  vague  perception  that  all  the  words  we  hear 
belong  to  the  same  language  and  to  the  same  special  vocab 
ulary  in  that  language,  and  that  the  grammatical  sequence 
is  familiar,  is  practically  equivalent  to  an  admission  that 
what  we  hear  is  sense.  But  if  an  unusual  foreign  word 
be  introduced,  if  the  grammar  trip,  or  if  a  term  from  an 
incongruous  vocabulary  suddenly  appear,  such  as  '  rat- 
trap  '  or  *  plumber's  bill '  in  a  philosophical  discourse,  the 
sentence  detonates,  as  it  were,  we  receive  a  shock  from  the 
incongruity,  and  the  drowsy  assent  is  gone.  The  feeling  of 
Tationality  in  these  cases  seems  rather  a  negative  than  a 


THE  STREAM   QF  THOUGHT.  263 

positive  thing,  being  the  mere  absence  of  shock,  or  sense 
of  discord,  between  the  terms  of  thought. 

So  delicate  and  incessant  is  this  recognition  by  the 
mind  of  the  mere  fitness  of  words  to  be  mentioned  together 
that  the  slightest  misreading,  such  as  '  casualty '  for 
'causality,'  or  'perpetual'  for  *  perceptual,'  will  be  cor 
rected  by  a  listener  whose  attention  is  so  relaxed  that  he 
gets  no  idea  of  the  meaning  of  the  sentence  at  all. 

Conversely,  if  words  do  belong  to  the  same  vocabulary, 
and  if  the  grammatical  structure  is  correct,  sentences  with 
absolutely  no  meaning  may  be  uttered  in  good  faith  and 
pass  unchallenged.  Discourses  at  prayer-meetings,  re 
shuffling  the  same  collection  of  cant  phrases,  and  the  whole 
genus  of  penny-a-line-isms  and  newspaper-reporter's 
flourishes  give  illustrations  of  this.  "The  birds  filled  the 
tree-tops  with  their  morning  song,  making  the  air  moist, 
cool,  and  pleasant,"  is  a  sentence  I  remember  reading  once 
in  a  report  of  some  athletic  exercises  in  Jerome  Park.  It 
was  probably  written  unconsciously  by  the  hurried  re 
porter,  and  read  uncritically  by  many  readers.  An  entire 
volume  of  784  pages  lately  published  in  Boston*  is  com 
posed  of  stuff  like  this  passage  picked  out  at  random  : 

"  The  flow  of  the  efferent  fluids  of  all  these  vessels  from  their  out 
lets  at  the  terminal  loop  of  each  culminate  link  on  the  surface  of  the 
nuclear  organism  is  continuous  as  their  respective  atmospheric  fruitage 
up  to  the  altitudinal  limit  of  their  expansibility,  whence,  when  atmos- 
phered  by  like  but  coalescing  essences  from  higher  altitudes,— those 
sensibly  expressed  as  the  essential  qualities  of  external  forms, — they 
descend,  and  become  assimilated  by  the  afferents  of  the  nuclear  organ 
ism,  "t 

*  Substantialism  or  Philosophy  of  Knowledge,  by  '  Jean  Story'  (1879). 

fM.  G.  Tarde,  quoting  (in  Delbnmf,  Le  Sommeil  et  les  Revcs  (1885),  p. 
<J26)  some  nonsense-verses  from  a  dream,  says  they  show  how  prosodic 
forms  may  subsist  in  a  mind  from  which  logical  rules  are  effaced.  .  .  . 
I  was  able,  in  dreaming,  to  preserve  the  faculty  of  rinding  two  words  which 
rhymed,  to  appreciate  the  rhyme,  to  fill  up  the  verse  as  it  first  presented 
itself  with  other  words  which,  added,  gave  the  right  number  of  syllables, 
and  yet  I  was  ignorant  of  the  sense  of  the  words.  .  .  .  Thus  we  have  the 
extraordinary  fact  that  the  words  called  each  other  up,  without  calling  up 
their  sense.  .  .  .  Even  when  awake,  it  is  more  difficult  to  ascend  to  the 
meaning  of  a  word  than  to  pass  from  one  word  to  another  ;  or  to  put  it 
otherwise,  it  is  harder  to  be  a  thinker  than  to  be  a  rhetorician,  and  on  the 
whole  nothing  is  commoner  thon  trains  of  -words  not  understood." 


264  PSYCHOLOGY. 

There  are  every  year  works  published  whose  contents 
show  them  to  be  by  real  lunatics.  To  the  reader,  the 
book  quoted  from  seems  pure  nonsense  from  beginning  to 
end.  It  is  impossible  to  divine,  in  such  a  case,  just  what 
sort  of  feeling  of  rational  relation  between  the  words  may 
have  appeared  to  the  author's  mind.  The  border  line 
between  objective  sense  and  nonsense  is  hard  to  draw  ; 
that  between  subjective  sense  and  nonsense,  impossible. 
Subjectively,  any  collocation  of  words  may  make  sense — 
even  the  wildest  words  in  a  dream — if  one  only  does  not 
doubt  their  belonging  together.  Take  the  obscurer  pas 
sages  in  Hegel :  it  is  a  fair  question  whether  the  rationality 
included  in  them  be  anything  more  than  the  fact  that  the 
words  all  belong  to  a  common  vocabulary,  and  are  strung 
together  on  a  scheme  of  predication  and  relation, — imme 
diacy,  self-relation,  and  what  not, — which  has  habitually 
recurred.  Yet  there  seems  no  reason  to  doubt  that  the 
subjective  feeling  of  the  rationality  of  these  sentences  was 
strong  in  the  writer  as  he  penned  them,  or  even  that  some 
readers  by  straining  may  have  reproduced  it  in  themselves. 

To  sum  up,  certain  kinds  of  verbal  associate,  certain 
grammatical  expectations  fulfilled,  stand  for  a  good  part  ol 
our  impression  that  a  sentence  has  a  meaning  and  is 
dominated  by  the  Unity  of  one  Thought.  Nonsense  in 
grammatical  form  sounds  half  rational ;  sense  with  gram 
matical  sequence  upset  sounds  nonsensical ;  e.g.,  "  Elba  the 
Napoleon  English  faith  had  banished  broken  to  he  Saint 
because  Helena  at."  Finally,  there  is  about  each  word  the 
psychic  '  overtone  '  of  feeling  that  it  brings  us  nearer  to  a 
forefelt  conclusion.  Suffuse  all  the  words  of  a  sentence, 
as  they  pass,  with  these  three  fringes  or  haloes  of  relation, 
let  the  conclusion  seem  worth  arriving  at,  and  all  will 
admit  the  sentence  to  be  an  expression  of  thoroughly 
continuous,  unified,  and  rational  thought.* 

*  We  think  it  odd  that  young  children  should  listen  with  such  rapt 
attention  to  the  reading  of  stories  expressed  in  words  half  of  which  they 
do  not  understand,  and  of  none  of  which  they  ask  the  meaning.  But 
their  thinking  is  in  form  just  what  ours  is  when  it  is  rapid.  Both  of  us 
make  flying  leaps  over  large  portions  of  the  sentences  uttered  and  we  give 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  265 

Each  word,  in  such  a  sentence,  is  felt,  not  only  as  a 
word,  but  as  having  a  meaning.  The  '  meaning  '  of  a  word 
taken  thus  dynamically  in  a  sentence  may  be  quite  differ 
ent  from  its  meaning  when  taken  statically  or  without  con 
text.  The  dynamic  meaning  is  usually  reduced  to  the  bare 
fringe  we  have  described,  of  felt  suitability  or  unfitness  to 
the  context  and  conclusion.  The  static  meaning,  when  the 
word  is  concrete,  as  '  table,'  '  Boston,'  consists  of  sensory 
images  awakened ;  when  it  is  abstract,  as  '  criminal  legisla 
tion,'  '  fallacy,'  the  meaning  consists  of  other  words  aroused, 
forming  the  so-called  '  definition.' 

Hegel's  celebrated  dictum  that  pure  being  is  identical 
with  pure  nothing  results  from  his  taking  the  words  stati 
cally,  or  without  the  fringe  they  wear  in  a  context.  Taken 
in  isolation,  they  agree  in  the  single  point  of  awakening  no 
sensorial  images.  But  taken  dynamically,  or  as  significant, 
— as  thought, — their  fringes  of  relation,  their  affinities  and 
repugnances,  their  function  and  meaning,  are  felt  and 
understood  to  be  absolutely  opposed. 

Such  considerations  as  these  remove  all  appearance  of 
paradox  from  those  cases  of  extremely  deficient  visual  im 
agery  of  whose  existence  Mr.  Galton  has  made  us  aware  (see 
below).  An  exceptionally  intelligent  friend  informs  me  that 
he  can  frame  no  image  whatever  of  the  appearance  of  his 
breakfast-table.  When  asked  how  he  then  remembers  it  at 
all,  he  says  he  simple  '  knows '  that  it  seated  four  people,  and 
was  covered  with  a  white  cloth  on  which  were  a  butter 
dish,  a  coffee-pot,  radishes,  and  so  forth.  The  mind-stuff 
of  which  this  '  knowing'  is  made  seems  to  be  verbal  images 
exclusively.  But  if  the  words  '  coffee,'  '  bacon,'  *  muffins,' 
and  '  eggs  '  lead  a  man  to  speak  to  his  cook,  to  pay  his 
bills,  and  to  take  measures  for  the  morrow's  meal  exactly  as 
visual  and  gustatory  memories  would,  why  are  they  not, 

attention  only  to  substantive  starting  points,  turning  points,  and  conclu 
sions  here  and  there.  All  the  rest,  '  substantive  '  and  separately  intelligible, 
as  it  may  potentially  be,  actually  serves  only  as  so  much  transitive  material. 
It  is  internodal  consciousness,  giving  us  the  sense  of  continuity,  but  having 
no  significance  apart  from  its  mere  gap-filling  function.  The  children 
probably  feel  no  gap  when  through  a  lot  of  unintelligible  words  they  arc 
swiftly  carried  to  a  familiar  and  intelligible  terminus. 


266  PSYCHOLOGY. 

for  all  practical  intents  and  purposes,  as  good  a  kind  of 
material  in  which  to  think  ?  In  fact,  we  may  suspect  them 
to  be  for  most  purposes  better  than  terms  with  a  richer 
imaginative  coloring.  The  scheme  of  relationship  and  the 
conclusion  being  the  essential  things  in  thinking,  that  kind 
of  mind-stuff  which  is  handiest  will  be  the  best  for  the 
purpose.  Now  words,  uttered  or  unexpressed,  are  the 
handiest  mental  elements  we  have.  Not  only  are  they  very 
rapidly  revivable,  but  they  are  revivable  as  actual  sen 
sations  more  easily  than  any  other  items  of  our  ex 
perience.  Did  they  not  possess  some  such  advantage  as 
this,  it  would  hardly  be  the  case  that  the  older  men  are  and 
the  more  effective  as  thinkers,  the  more,  as  a  rule,  they 
have  lost  their  visualizing  power  and  depend  on  words. 
This  was  ascertained  by  Mr.  Galton  to  be  the  case  with 
members  of  the  Royal  Society.  The  present  writer  ob 
serves  it  in  his  own  person  most  distinctly. 

On  the  other  hand,  a  deaf  and  dumb  man  can  weave 
his  tactile  and  visual  images  into  a  system  of  thought  quite 
as  effective  and  rational  as  that  of  a  word-user.  The 
question  whether  thought  is  possible  without  language  has 
been  a  favorite  topic  of  discussion  among  philosophers. 
Some  interesting  reminiscences  of  his  childhood  by  Mr. 
Ballard,  a  deaf-mute  instructor  in  the  National  College  at 
Washington,  show  it  to  be  perfectly  possible.  A  few 
paragraphs  may  be  quoted  here. 

"  In  consequence  of  the  loss  of  my  hearing  in  infancy,  I  was  de 
barred  from  enjoying  the  advantages  which  children  in  the  full  pos 
session  of  their  senses  derive  from  the  exercises  of  the  common  primary 
school,  from  the  every-day  talk  of  their  school-fellows  and  playmates, 
and  from  the  conversation  of  their  parents  and  other  grown-up  persons. 

"  I  could  convey  my  thoughts  and  feelings  to  my  parents  and 
brothers  by  natural  signs  or  pantomime,  and  I  could  understand  what 
they  said  to  me  by  the  same  medium;  our  intercourse  being,  however, 
confined  to  the  daily  routine  of  home  affairs  and  hardly  going  beyond 
the  cirele  of  my  own  observation.  .  .  . 

"My  father  adopted  a  course  which  he  thought  would,  in  some 
measure,  compensate  me  for  the  loss  of  my  hearing.  It  was  that  of 
taking  me  with  him  when  business  required  him  to  ride  abroad  ;  and 
he  took  me  more  frequently  than  he  did  my  brothers  ;  giving,  as  the 
reason  for  his  apparent  partiality,  that  they  could  acquire  information 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  267 

through  the  ear,  while  I  depended  solely  upon  my  eye  for  acquaintance 
with  affairs  of  the  outside  world.  .  .  . 

' '  I  have  a  vivid  recollection  of  the  delight  I  felt  in  watching  the 
different  scenes  we  passed  through,  observing  the  various  phases  of 
nature,  both  animate  and  inanimate  ;  though  we  did  not,  owing  to  my 
infirmity,  engage  in  conversation.  It  was  during  those  delightful  rides, 
some  two  or  three  years  before  my  initiation  into  the  rudiments  of 
written  language,  that  I  began  to  ask  myself  the  question  :  How  came 
the  world  into  being  ?  When  this  question  occurred  to  my  mind,  I  set 
myself  to  thinking  it  over  a  long  time.  My  curiosity  was  awakened  as 
to  what  was  the  origin  of  human  life  in  its  first  appearance  upon  the 
earth,  and  of  vegetable  life  as  well,  and  also  the  cause  of  the  existence 
of  the  earth,  sun,  moon,  and  stars. 

"  I  remember  at  one  time  when  my  eye  fell  upon  a  very  large  old 
stump  which  we  happened  to  pass  in  one  of  our  rides,  I  asked  myself, 
'  Is  it  possible  that  the  first  man  that  ever  came  into  the  world  rose  out 
of  that  stump  ?  But  that  stump  is  only  a  remnant  of  a  once  noble  mag 
nificent  tree,  and  how  came  that  tree  ?  Why,  it  came  only  by  beginning 
to  grow  out  of  the  ground  just  like  those  little  trees  now  coming  up.' 
And  I  dismissed  from  my  mind,  as  an  absurd  idea,  the  connection 
between  the  origin  of  man  and  a  decaying  old  stump.  .  .  . 

"  I  have  no  recollection  of  what  it  was  that  first  suggested  to  me  the 
question  as  to  the  origin  of  things.  I  had  before  this  time  gained  ideas 
of  the  descent  from  parent  to  child,  of  the  propagation  of  animals,  arid 
of  the  production  of  plants  from  seeds.  The  question  that  occurred  to 
my  mind  was  :  whence  came  the  first  man,  the  first  animal,  and  the 
first  plant,  at  the  remotest  distance  of  time,  before  which  there  was  no 
man,  no  animal,  no  plant ;  since  I  knew  they  all  had  a  beginning  and 
an  end. 

"It  is  impossible  to  state  the  exact  order  in  which  these  different 
questions  arose,  i.e.,  about  men,  animals,  plants,  the  earth,  sun,  moon, 
etc.  The  lower  animals  did  not  receive  so  much  thought  as  was  bestowed 
upon  man  and  the  earth  ;  perhaps  because  I  put  man  and  beast  in  the 
same  class,  since  I  believed  that  man  would  be  annihilated  and  there  was 
no  resurrection  beyond  the  grave, — though  I  am  told  by  my  mother  that, 
in  answer  to  my  question,  in  the  case  of  a  deceased  uncle  who  looked 
to  me  like  a  person  in  sleep,  she  had  tried  to  make  me  understand  that 
he  would  awake  in  the  far  future.  It  was  my  belief  that  man  and 
beast  derived  their  being  from  the  same  source,  and  were  to  be  laid 
down  in  the  dust  in  a  state  of  annihilation.  Considering  the  brute 
animal  as  of  secondary  importance,  and  allied  to  man  on  a  lower  level, 
man  and  the  earth  were  the  two  things  on  which  my  mind  dwelled 
most. 

"  I  think  I  was  five  years  old,  when  I  began  to  understand  the  de 
scent  from  parent  to  child  and  the  propagation  of  animals.  I  was 
nearly  eleven  years  old,  when  I  entered  the  Institution  where  I  was  ed- 


268  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ucated  ;  and  I  remember  distinctly  that  it  was  at  least  two  years  before 
this  time  that  I  began  to  ask  myself  the  question  as  to  the  origin  of  the 
universe.  My  age  was  then  about  eight,  not  over  nine  years. 

"Of  the  form  of  the  earth,  I  had  no  idea  in  my  childhood,  except 
that,  from  a  look  at  a  map  of  the  hemispheres,  I  inferred  there  were 
two  immense  disks  of  matter  lying  near  each  other.  I  also  believed  the 
sun  and  moon  to  be  round,  flat  plates  of  illuminating  matter  ;  and  for- 
those  luminaries  I  entertained  a  sort  of  reverence  on  account  of  their 
power  of  lighting  and  heating  the  earth.  I  thought  from  their  coming 
up  and  going  down,  travelling  across  the  sky  in  so  regular  a  manner 
that  there  must  be  a  certain  something  having  power  to  govern  their 
course.  I  believed  the  sun  went  into  a  hole  at  the  west  and  came  out 
of  another  at  the  east,  travelling  through  a  great  tube  in  the  earth,  de 
scribing  the  same  curve  as  it  seemed  to  describe  in  the  sky.  The  stars 
seemed  to  me  to  be  tiny  lights  studded  in  the  sky. 

"  The  source  from  which  the  universe  came  was  the  question  about 
which  my  mind  revolved  in  a  vain  struggle  to  grasp  it,  or  rather  to 
fight  the  way  up  to  attain  to  a  satisfactory  answer.  When  I  had  occupied 
myself  with  this  subject  a  considerable  time,  I  perceived  that  it  was  a 
matter  much  greater  than  my  mind  could  comprehend  ;  and  I  remem 
ber  well  that  I  became  so  appalled  at  its  mystery  and  so  bewildered  at 
my  inability  to  grapple  with  it  that  I  laid  the  subject  aside  and  out  of 
my  mind,  glad  to  escape  being,  as  it  were,  drawn  into  a  vortex  of  inex 
tricable  confusion.  Though  I  felt  relieved  at  this  escape,  yet  I  could  not 
resist  the  desire  to  know  the  truth  ;  and  I  returned  to  the  subject ;  but 
as  before,  I  left  it,  after  thinking  it  over  for  some  time.  In  this  state  of 
perplexity,  I  hoped  all  the  time  to  get  at  the  truth,  still  believing  that 
the  more  I  gave  thought  to  the  subject,  the  more  my  mind  would  pene 
trate  the  mystery.  Thus  I  was  tossed  like  a  shuttlecock,  returning  to 
the  subject  and  recoiling  from  it,  till  I  came  to  school. 

"  I  remember  that  my  mother  once  told  me  about  a  being  up  above, 
pointing  her  finger  towards  the  sky  and  with  a  solemn  look  on  her  coun 
tenance.  I  do  not  recall  the  circumstance  which  led  to  this  communica 
tion.  When  she  mentioned  the  mysterious  being  up  in  the  sky,  I  was 
eager  to  take  hold  of  the  subject,  and  plied  her  with  questions  concern 
ing  the  form  and  appearance  of  this  unknown  being,  asking  if  it  was 
the  sun,  moon,  or  one  of  the  stars.  I  knew  she  meant  that  there  was  a 
living  one  somewhere  up  in  the  sky  ;  but  when  I  realized  that  she  could 
not  answer  my  questions,  I  gave  it  up  in  despair,  feeling  sorrowful  that 
I  could  not  obtain  a  definite  idea  of  the  mysterious  living  one  up  in  the 
sky. 

' '  One  day,  while  we  were  haying  in  a  field,  there  was  a  series  of  heavy 
thunder-claps.  I  asked  one  of  my  brothers  where  they  came  from.  He 
pointed  to  the  sky  and  made  a  zigzag  motion  with  his  finger,  signifying 
lightning.  I  imagined  there  was  a  great  man  somewhere  in  the  blue 
vault,  who  made  a  loud  noise  with  his  voice  out  of  it ;  and  each  time  I 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  269 

heard  *  a  thunder-clap  I  was  frightened,  and  looked  up  at  the  sky,  fear 
ing  he  was  speaking  a  threatening  word."  t 

Here  we  may  pause.     The  reader  sees  by  this  time  that 
it  makes  little  or  no  difference  in  what  sort  of  mind- stuff,  in 
what  quality  of  imagery,  his  thinking  goes  on.     The  only 
images  intrinsically  important  are  the  halting-places,    the 
substantive  conclusions,  provisional  or  final,  of  the  thought. 
Throughout  all  the  rest  of  the  stream,  the  feelings  of  rela 
tion  are  everything,  and  the  terms  related  almost  naught. 
These  feelings  of  relation,  these  psychic  overtones,  halos, 
suffusions,  or  fringes  about  the  terms,  may  be  the  same 
in  very  different  systems  of  imagery.     A  diagram  may  help 
to  accentuate  this  indifference  of  the  mental  means  where 
the    end   is   the    same.     Let   A  be  some  experience  from 
which  a  number  of  thinkers  start.     Let  Z  be  the  practical 
conclusion  rationally  inferrible   from  it.     One  gets  to  the 
conclusion  by  one  line,  another  by  another ;  one  follows  a 
course  of  English,  another  of 
German,       verbal      imagery. 
"With  one,  visual  images  pre 
dominate  ;  with  another,  tac 
tile.     Some  trains  are   tinged 
with    emotions,    others    not; 
some  are  very  abridged,  syn 
thetic  and  rapid,  others,  hesi-  FIG.  28. 
tating  and  broken  into  many  steps.     But  when  the  penul 
timate  terms   of  all  the  trains,  however  differing  inter  sc, 
finally  shoot  into  the  same  conclusion,  we  say  and  rightly 
say,  that  all  the  thinkers  have  had  substantially  the  same 
thought.     It  would  probably  astound  each  of  them  beyond 

*  Not  literally  heard,  of  course.  Deaf  mutes  are  quick  to  perceive 
shocks  and  jars  that  can  be  felt,  even  when  so  slight  as  to  be  unnoticed  by 
those  who  can  hear. 

t  Quoted  by  Samuel  Porter  :  'Is  Thought  possible  without  Language?' 
in  Princeton  Review,  57th  year,  pp.  108-12  (Jan.  1881  ?).  Of.  also  W.  W. 
Ireland  :  The  Blot  upon  the  Brain  (1886),  Paper  X,  part  IT  ;  G.  J.  Romanes  : 
Mental  Evolution  in  Man,  pp.  81-83,  and  references  therein  made.  Prof. 
Max  Miiller  gives  a  very  complete  history  of  this  controversy  in  pp.  30  -64  of 
his  '  Science  of  Thought '  (1887).  His  own  view  is  that  Thought  and  Speech 
are  inseparable  ;  but  under  speech  he  includes  any  conceivable  sort  of  sym 
bolism  or  even  mental  imagery,  and  he  makes  no  allowance  for  the  word 
less  summary  glimpses  which  we  have  of  systems  of  relation  and  direction. 


270  PSYCHOLOGY. 

measure  to  be  let    ato  his  neighbor's  mind  and  to  find  now 
different  the  scene  y  there  was  from  that  in  his  own. 

Thought  is  in  fact  a  kind  of  Algebra,  as  Berkeley  long  ago 
said,  "in  which,  though  a  particular  quantity  be  marked  by 
each  letter,  yet  to  proceed  right,  it  is  not  requisite  that  in 
every  step  each  letter  suggest  to  your  thoughts  that  par 
ticular  quantity  it  was  appointed  to  stand  for."  Mr.  Lewes 
has  developed  this  algebra-analogy  so  well  that  I  must 
quote  his  words  : 

"  The  leading  characteristic  of  algebra  is  that  of  operation  on  rela 
tions.  This  also  is  the  leading  characteristic  of  Thought.  Algebra  can 
not  exist  without  values,  nor  Thought  without  Feelings.  The  operations 
are  so  many  blank  forms  till  the  values  are  assigned.  Words  are  va 
cant  sounds,  ideas  are  blank  forms,  unless  they  symbolize  images  and 
sensations  which  are  their  values.  Nevertheless  it  is  rigorously  true, 
and  of  the  greatest  importance,  that  analysts  carry  on  very  extensive 
operations  with  blank  forms,  never  pausing  to  supply  the  symbols  with 
values  until  the  calculation  is  completed;  and  ordinary  men,  no  less 
than  philosophers,  carry  on  long  trains  of  thought  without  pausing  to 
translate  their  ideas  (words)  into  images.  .  .  ,  Suppose  some  one  from 
a  distance  shouts  'a  lion!'  At  once  the  maii  starts  in  alarm.  .  .  . 
To  the  man  the  word  is  not  only  an  ...  expression  of  all  that  he  has 
seen  and  heard  of  lions,  capable  of  recalling  various  experiences,  but  is 
also  capable  of  taking  its  place  in  a  connected  series  of  thoughts  without 
recalling  any  of  those  experiences,  without  reviving  an  image,  however 
faint,  of  the  lion— simply  as  a  sign  of  a  certain  relation  Included  in  the 
complex  so  named.  Like  an  algebraic  symbol  it  may  be  operated  on 
without  conveying  other  significance  than  an  abstract  relation  :  it  is  a 
sign  of  Danger,  related  to  fear  with  all  its  motor  sequences.  Its  logical 
position  suffices.  .  .  .  Ideas  are  substitutions  which  require  a  secondary 
process  when  what  is  symbolized  by  them  is  translated  into  the  images 
and  experiences  it  replaces;  and  this  secondary  process  is  frequently  not 
performed  at  all,  generally  only  performed  to  a  very  small  extent.  Let 
anyone  closely  examine  what  has  passed  in  his  mind  when  he  has  con 
structed  a  chain  of  reasoning,  and  he  will  be  surprised  at  the  fewness 
and  faintness  of  the  images  which  have  accompanied  the  ideas.  Sup 
pose  you  inform  me  that  '  the  blood  rushed  violently  from  the  man's 
heart,  quickening  his  pulse  at  the  sight  of  his  enemy.'  Of  the  many  la 
tent  images  in  this  phrase,  how  many  were  salient  in  your  mind  and  in 
mine  ?  Probably  two — the  man  and  his  enemy— and  these  images  were 
faint.  Images  of  blood,  heart,  violent  rushing,  pulse,  quickening,  and 
sight,  were  either  not  revived  at  all,  or  were  passing  shadows.  Had 
any  such  images  arisen,  they  would  have  hampered  thought,  retarding 
the  logical  process  of  judgment  by  irrelevant  connections.  The  symbols 
had  substituted  relations  for  these  values.  .  .  .  There  are  no  images  of 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  271 

two  things  and  three  things,  when  I  say  '  two  and  three  equal  five;' 
there  are  simply  familiar  symbols  having  precise  relations.  .  .  .  The 
verbal  symbol  '  horse,'  which  stands  for  all  our  experiences  of  horses, 
serves  all  the  purposes  of  Thought,  without  recalling  one  of  the  images 
clustered  in  the  perception  of  horses,  just  as  the  sight  of  a  horse's  form 
serves  all  the  purposes  of  recognition  without  recalling  the  sound  of  its 
neighing  or  its  tramp,  its  qualities  as  an  animal  of  draught,  and  so 
forth.* 

It  need  only  be  added  that  as  the  Algebrist,  though  the 
sequence  of  his  terms  is  fixed  by  their  relations  rather  than 
by  their  several  values,  must  give  a  real  value  to  the  final  one 
he  reaches  ;  so  the  thinker  in  words  must  let  his  conclud 
ing  word  or  phrase  be  translated  into  its  full  sensible-image- 
value,  under  penalty  of  the  thought  being  left  unrealized 
and  pale. 

This  is  all  I  have  to  say  about  the  sensible  continuity 
and  unity  of  our  thought  as  contrasted  with  the  apparent 
discreteness  of  the  words,  images,  and  other  means  by 
which  it  seems  to  be  carried  on.  Between  all  their  sub 
stantive  elements  there  is  '  transitive  '  consciousness,  and 
the  words  and  images  are  '  fringed,'  and  not  as  discrete  as 
to  a  careless  view  they  seem.  Let  us  advance  now  to  the 
next  head  in  our  description  of  Thought's  stream. 

4.  Human  thought  appears  to  deal  with  objects  independent 
of  itself ;  that  ix,  it  is  cognitive,  or  possesses  the  function  of 
knowing. 

For  Absolute  Idealism,  the  infinite  Thought  and  its  ob 
jects  are  one.  The  Objects  are,  through  being  thought ; 
the  eternal  Mind  is,  through  thinking  them.  Were  a 
human  thought  alone  in  the  world  there  would  be  no 
reason  for  any  other  assumption  regarding  it.  Whatever 
it  might  have  before  it  would  be  its  vision,  would  be  there, 
in  its  '  there,'  or  then,  in  its  '  then  '  ;  and  the  question  would 
never  arise  whether  an  extra-mental  duplicate  of  it  existed  or 
not.  The  reason  why  we  all  believe  that  the  objects  of  our 
thoughts  have  a  duplicate  existence  outside,  is  that  there 
are  many  human  thoughts,  each  with  the  same  objects,  as 


*  Problems  of  Life  and  Mind,  3d  Series,  Problem  iv,  chapter  5.    Com 
pare  also  Victor  Eggur  :  Lu  Parole  luterieure  (Paris,  1881),  chap.  vi. 


272  PSYCHOLOGY. 

we  cannot  help  supposing.  The  judgment  that  my  thought 
has  the  same  object  as  his  thought  is  what  makes  the 
psychologist  call  my  thought  cognitive  of  an  outer  reality. 
The  judgment  that  my  own  past  thought  and  my  own  pres 
ent  thought  are  of  the  same  object  is  what  makes  me  take 
the  object  out  of  either  and  project  it  by  a  sort  of  triangu- 
lation  into  an  independent  position,  from  which  it  may 
appear  to  both.  Sameness  in  a  multiplicity  of  objective 
appearances  is  thus  the  basis  of  our  belief  in  realities 
outside  of  thought.*  In  Chapter  XII  we  shall  have  to  take 
up  the  judgment  of  sameness  again. 

To  show  that  the  question  of  reality  being  extra-mental 
or  not  is  not  likely  to  arise  in  the  absence  of  repeated  ex 
periences  of  the  same,  take  the  example  of  an  altogether 
unprecedented  experience,  such  as  a  new  taste  in  the  throat. 
Is  it  a  subjective  qiiality  of  feeling,  or  an  objective  quality 
felt  ?  You  do  not  even  ask  the  question  at  this  point.  It 
is  simply  that  taste.  But  if  a  doctor  hears  you  describe  it, 
and  says  :  "  Ha  !  Now  you  know  what  heartburn  is,"  then 
it  becomes  a  quality  already  existent  extra  mentem  tuam, 
which  you  in  turn  have  come  upon  and  learned.  The  first 
spaces,  times,  things,  qualities,  experienced  by  the  child 
probably  appear,  like  the  first  heartburn,  in  this  absolute 
way,  as  simple  beings,  neither  in  nor  out  of  thought.  But 
later,  by  having  other  thoughts  than  this  present  one,  and 
making  repeated  judgments  of  sameness  among  their  ob 
jects,  he  corroborates  in  himself  the  notion  of  realities, 
past  and  distant  as  well  as  present,  which  realities  no  one 
single  thought  either  possesses  or  engenders,  but  which  all 
may  contemplate  and  know.  This,  as  was  stated  in  the  last 
chapter,  is  the  psychological  point  of  view,  the  relatively 
uncritical  non-idealistic  point  of  view  of  all  natural  science, 
beyond  which  this  book  cannot  go.  A  mind  which  has 
become  conscious  of  its  own  cognitive  function,  plays  what 
we  have  called  '  the  psychologist '  upon  itself.  It  not  only 
knows  the  things  that  appear  before  it ;  it  knows  that  it 

*If  but  one  person  sees  an  apparition  we  consider  it  his  private  halluci 
nation.  If  more  than  one.  we  begin  to  think  it  may  be  a  real  external 
presence. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  27? 

knows  them.     This  stage  of  reflective  condition  is,  more  01 
less  explicitly,  our  habitual  adult  state  of  mind. 

It  cannot,  however,  be  regarded  as  primitive.  The  con 
sciousness  of  objects  must  come  first.  We  seem  to  lapse 
into  this  primordial  condition  when  consciousness  is  re 
duced  to  a  minimum  by  the  inhalation  of  anaesthetics  or 
during  a  faint.  Many  persons  testify  that  at  a  certain  stage 
of  the  anaesthetic  process  objects  are  still  cognized  whilst 
the  thought  of  self  is  lost.  Professor  Herzeu  says :  * 

"  During  the  syncope  there  is  absolute  psychic  annihilation,  the  ab 
sence  of  all  consciousness  ;  then  at  the  beginning  of  coming  to,  one  has 
at  a  certain  moment  a  vague,  limitless,  infinite  feeling— a  sense  of  exist 
ence  in  general  without  the  least  trace  of  distinction  between  the  me  and 
the  not-me." 

Dr.  Shoemaker  of  Philadelphia  describes  during  the 
deepest  conscious  stage  of  ether-intoxication  a  vision  of 
"  two  endless  parallel  lines  in  swift  longitudinal  motion  .  .  .  on  a  uni 
form  misty  background  .  .  .  together  with  a  constant  sound  or  whirr, 
not  loud  but  distinct  .  .  .  which  seemed  to  be  connected  with  the  paral 
lel  lines.  .  .  .  These  phenomena  occupied  the  whole  field.  There  were 
present  no  dreams  or  visions  in  any  way  connected  with  human  affairs, 
no  ideas  or  impressions  akin  to  anything  in  past  experience,  no  emo 
tions,  of  course  no  idea  of  personality.  There  was  no  conception  as  to 
what  being  it  was  that  was  regarding  the  two  lines,  or  that  there  existed 
any  such  thing  as  such  a  being ;  the  lines  and  waves  were  all."  t 

Similarly  a  friend  of  Mr.  Herbert  Spencer,  quoted  by 
him  in  'Mind'  (vol  in.  p.  556),  speaks  of  "  an  undisturbed 
empty  quiet  everywhere  except  that  a  stupid  presence  lay 
like  a  heavy  intrusion  somewhere — a  blotch  on  the  calm." 
This  sense  of  objectivity  and  lapse  of  subjectivity,  even 
when  the  object  is  almost  indefinable,  is,  it  seems  to  me,  a 
somewhat  familiar  phase  in  chloroformization,  though  in 
my  own  case  it  is  too  deep  a  phase  for  any  articulate  after- 
memory  to  remain.  I  only  know  that  as  it  vanishes  I 
seem  to  wake  to  a  sense  of  my  own  existence  as  something 
additional  to  what  had  previously  been  there.J 

*  Revue  Philosophique,  vol.  xxi.  p.  671. 

f  Quoted  from  the  Therapeutic  Gazette,  by  the  N.  Y.  Semi-weekly 
Evening  Post  for  Nov.  2,  1886. 

Jin  lialf-stunned  states  self -consciousness  may  lapse.  A  frieud  writes 
me  :  "  We  were  driving  back  from in  a  wagonette.  The  door  flew 


274  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Many  philosophers,  however,  hold  that  the  reflective 
consciousness  of  the  self  is  essential  to  the  cognitive  func 
tion  of  thought.  They  hold  that  a  thought,  in  order  to  know 
a  thing  at  all,  must  expressly  distinguish  between  the  thing 
and  its  own  self.*  This  is  a  perfectly  wanton  assumption, 
and  not  the  faintest  shadow  of  reason  exists  for  supposing 
it  true.  As  well  might  I  contend  that  I  cannot  dream 
without  dreaming  that  I  dream,  swear  without  swearing 
that  I  swear,  deny  without  denying  that  I  deny,  as  main 
tain  that  I  cannot  know  without  knowing  that  I  know.  1 
may  have  either  acquaintance-with,  or  knowledge-about, 
an  object  O  without  think  about  myself  at  all.  It  suffices 
for  this  that  I  think  O,  and  that  it  exist.  If,  in  addition 
to  thinking  O,  I  also  think  that  I  exist  and  that  I  know  O, 
well  and  good  ;  I  then  know  one  more  thing,  a  fact  about  O, 
of  which  I  previously  was  unmindful.  That,  however,  does 
not  prevent  me  from  having  already  known  O  a  good  deal. 
O  per  se,  or  O  plus  P,  are  as  good  objects  of  knowledge  as 
O  plus  me  is.  The  philosophers  in  question  simply  substi 
tute  one  particular  object  for  all  others,  and  call  it  the  ob 
ject  par  excellence.  It  is  a  case  of  the  psychologist's  fal 
lacy  '  (see  p.  197).  They  know  the  object  to  be  one  thing 

open  and  X.,  alias  '  Baldy,'  fell  out  on  the  road.  We  pulled  up  at  once, 
and  then  he  said,  '  Did  anybody  fall  out?'  or  'Who  fell  out?'— I  don't 
exactly  remember  the  words.  When  told  that  Baldy  fell  out,  he  said,  '  Did 
Baldy  fall  out  ?  Poor  Baldy ! " ' 

*  Kant  originated  this  view.  I  subjoin  a  few  English  statements  of  it. 
J.  Ferrier,  Institutes  of  Metaphysic,  Proposition  i :  "  Along  with  what 
ever  any  intelligence  knows  it  must,  as  the  ground  or  condition  of  its 
knowledge,  have  some  knowledge  of  itself."  Sir  Wm.  Hamilton,  Discus- 
sions,  p.  47:  "  We  know,  and  we  know  that  we  know,— these  propositions, 
logically  distinct,  are  really  identical ;  each  implies  the  other.  ...  So  true 
is  the  scholastic  brocard  :  non  sentimus  nisi  sentiamus  nos  sentire."  H.  L. 
Mansel,  Metaphysics,  p.  58:  "Whatever  variety  of  materials  may  exist 
within  reach  of  my  mind,  I  can  become  conscious  of  them  only  by  recog 
nizing  them  as  mine.  .  .  .  Relation  to  the  conscious  self  is  thus  the  perma 
nent  and  universal  feature  which  every  state  of  consciousness  as  such  must 
exhibit."  T.  H.  Green,  Introduction  to  Hume,  p.  12:  "A  consciousness 
by  the  man  ...  of  himself,  in  negative  relation  to  the  thing  that  is  his 
object,  and  this  consciousness  must  be  taken  to  go  along  with  the  percep 
tive  act  itself.  Not  less  than  this  indeed  can  be  involved  in  any  act  that  is 
to  be  the  beginning  of  knowledge  at  all.  It  is  the  minimum  of  possible 
thought  or  intelligence." 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  275 

and  the  thought  another;  and  they  forthwith  foist  their 
own  knowledge  into  that  of  the  thought  of  which  they  pre 
tend  to  give  a  true  account.  To  conclude,  then,  thought  may, 
but  need  not,  in  knoiving,  discriminate  between  its  object  and 
itself. 

We  have  been  using  the  word  Object.  Something  must 
now  be  said  about  the  proper  use  of  the  term  Object  in  Psy 
chology. 

In  popular  parlance  the  word  object  is  commonly  taken 
without  reference  to  the  act  of  knowledge,  and  treated  as 
synonymous  with  individual  subject  of  existence.  Thus 
if  anyone  ask  what  is  the  mind's  object  when  you  say 
'  Columbus  discovered  America  in  1492,'  most  people  will 
reply  '  Columbus,'  or  '  America,'  or,  at  most,  '  the  discovery 
of  America.'  They  will  name  a  substantive  kernel  or  nu 
cleus  of  the  consciousness,  and  say  the  thought  is  '  about ' 
that, — as  indeed  it  is, — and  they  will  call  that  your  thought's 
*  object.'  Really  that  is  usually  only  the  grammatical 
object,  or  more  likely  the  grammatical  subject,  of  your  sen 
tence.  It  is  at  most  your  '  fractional  object ; '  or  you  may  call 
it  the  *  topic '  of  your  thought,  or  the  '  subject  of  your  dis 
course.'  But  the  Object  of  your  thought  is  really  its  entire 
content  or  deliverance,  neither  more  nor  less.  It  is  a  vicious 
use  of  speech  to  take  out  a  substantive  kernel  from  its  con 
tent  and  call  that  its  object ;  and  it  is  an  equally  vicious  use 
of  speech  to  add  a  substantive  kernel  not  articulately  in 
cluded  in  its  content,  and  to  call  that  its  object.  Yet  either 
one  of  these  two  sins  we  commit,  whenever  we  content  our 
selves  with  saying  that  a  given  thought  is  simply  '  about '  a 
certain  topic,  or  that  that  topic  is  its  *  object.'  The  object  of 
my  thought  in  the  previous  sentence,  for  example,  is  strictly 
speaking  neither  Columbus,  nor  America,  nor  its  discovery. 
It  is  nothing  short  of  the  entire  sentence,  '  Columbus-dis 
co  vered-Ainerica-in-1492.'  And  if  we  wish  to  speak  of  it 
substantively,  we  must  make  a  substantive  of  it  by  writing 
it  out  thus  with  hyphens  between  all  its  words.  Nothing 
but  this  can  possibly  name  its  delicate  idiosyncrasy.  And 
if  we  wish  to  feel  that  idiosyncrasy  we  must  reproduce  the 
thought  as  it  was  uttered,  with  every  word  fringed  nud  the 


276  PSYCHOLOGY. 

whole  sentence  bathed  in  that  original  halo  of  obscure  rela 
tions,  which,  like  an  horizon,  then  spread  about  its  meaning. 

Our  psychological  duty  is  to  cling  as  closely  as  possible 
to  the  actual  constitution  of  the  thought  we  are  studying. 
We  may  err  as  much  by  excess  as  by  defect.  If  the  kernel 
or  'topic,'  Columbus,  is  in  one  way  less  than  the  thought's 
object,  so  in  another  wa}r  it  may  be  more.  That  is,  when 
named  by  the  psychologist,  it  may  mean  much  more  than 
actually  is  present  to  the  thought  of  which  he  is  reporter. 
Thus,  for  example,  suppose  you  should  go  on  to  think  : 
*  He  was  a  daring  genius ! '  An  ordinary  psychologist  would 
not  hesitate  to  say  that  the  object  of  your  thought  was  still 
'  Columbus.'  True,  your  thought  is  about  Columbus.  It 
'  terminates  '  in  Columbus,  leads  from  and  to  the  direct 
idea  of  Columbus.  But  for  the  moment  it  is  not  fully  and 
immediately  Columbus,  it  is  only  '  he,'  or  rather  '  he-was- 
a-daring-genius ;'  which,  though  it  may  be  an  unimportant 
difference  for  conversational  purposes,  is,  for  introspective 
psychology,  as  great  a  difference  as  there  can  be. 

The  object  of  every  thought,  then,  is  neither  more  nor 
less  than  all  that  the  thought  thinks,  exactly  as  the  thought 
thinks  it,  however  complicated  the  matter,  and  however 
symbolic  the  manner  of  the  thinking  may  be.  It  is  need 
less  to  say  that  memory  can  seldom  accurately  reproduce 
such  an  object,  when  once  it  has  passed  from  before  the 
mind.  It  either  makes  too  little  or  too  much  of  it.  Its 
best  plan  is  to  repeat  the  verbal  sentence,  if  there  was 
one,  in  which  the  object  was  expressed.  But  for  inarticu 
late  thoughts  there  is  not  even  this  resource,  and  intro 
spection  must  confess  that  the  task  exceeds  her  powers. 
The  mass  of  our  thinking  vanishes  for  ever,  beyond  hope 
of  recovery,  and  psychology  only  gathers  up  a  few  of  the 
crumbs  that  fall  from  the  feast. 

The  next  point  to  make  clear  is  that,  hoiuever  complex  the 
object  may  be,  the,  thought  of  it  is  one  undivided  state  of  con 
sciousness.  As  Thomas  Brown  says  :  * 

"  I  have  already  spoken  too  often  to  require  again  to  caution  you 
against  the  mistake  into  which,  I  confess,  that  the  terms  which  the 

*  Lectures  on  the  Philosophy  of  the  Human  Mind.  Lecture  45. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  277 

poverty  of  our  language  obliges  us  to  use  might  of  themselves  very 
naturally  lead  you  ;  the  mistake  of  supposing  that  the  most  complex 
states  of  mind  are  not  truly,  in  their  very  essence,  as  much  one  and 
indivisible  as  those  which  we  term  simple — the  complexity  and  seem 
ing  coexistence  which  they  involve  being  relative  to  our  feeling  *  only, 
not  to  their  own  absolute  nature.  I  trust  I  need  not  repeat  to  you 
that,  in  itself,  every  notion,  however  seemingly  complex,  is,  and  must 
be,  truly  simple — being  one  state  or  affection,  of  one  simple  substance, 
mind.  Our  conception  of  a  whole  army,  for  example,  is  as  truly  this 
one  mind  existing  in  this  one  state,  as  our  conception  of  any  of  the 
individuals  that  compose  an  army.  Our  notion  of  the  abstract  num 
bers,  eight,  four,  two,  is  as  truly  one  feeling  of  the  mind  as  our  notion 
of  simple  unity." 

The  ordinary  associationist-psychology  supposes,  in 
contrast  with  this,  that  whenever  an  object  of  thought  con 
tains  many  elements,  the  thought  itself  must  be  made  up 
of  just  as  many  ideas,  one  idea  for  each  element,  and  all 
fused  together  in  appearance,  but  really  separate. f  The 
enemies  of  this  psychology  find  (as  we  have  already  seen) 
little  trouble  in  showing  that  such  a  bundle  of  separate 
ideas  would  never  form  one  thought  at  all,  and  they  con 
tend  that  an  Ego  must  be  added  to  the  bundle  to  give  it 
unity,  and  bring  the  various  ideas  into  relation  with  each 
other.J  We  will  not  discuss  the  ego  just  yet,  but  it  is  ob 
vious  that  if  things  are  to  be  thought  in  relation,  they  must 
be  thought  together,  and  in  one  something,  be  that  something 
ego,  psychosis,  state  of  consciousness,  or  whatever  you 
please.  If  not  thought  with  each  other,  things  are  not 
thought  in  relation  at  all.  Now  most  believers  in  the  ego 
make  the  same  mistake  as  the  associationists  and  sensa- 
tionists  whom  they  oppose.  Both  agree  that  the  elements 
of  the  subjective  stream  are  discrete  and  separate  and  con 
stitute  what  Kant  calls  a  'manifold.'  But  while  the  asso- 


*  Instead  of  saying  to  our  feeling  only,  lie  should  have  said,  to  the  object 
only. 

f  "There  can  be  no  difficulty  in  admitting  that  association  does  form 
the  ideas  of  an  indefinite  number  of  individuals  into  one  complex  idea; 
because  it  is  an  acknowledged  fact.  Have  we  not  the  idea  of  an  army? 
And  is  not  that  precisely  the  ideas  of  an  indefinite  number  of  men  formed 
into  one  idea?"  (Jas.  Mill's  Analysis  of  the  Human  Mind  (J.  S.  Mill's 
Edition),  vol.  i.  p.  264.) 

t  For  their  arguments,  see  above,  pp. 


278  PSYCHOLOGY. 

ciationists  think  that  a  'manifold  '  can  form  a  single  knowl 
edge,  the  egoists  deny  this,  and  say  that  the  knowledge 
comes  only  when  the  manifold  is  subjected  to  the  synthe- 
tizing  activity  of  an  ego.  Both  make  an  identical  initial 
hypothesis ;  but  the  egoist,  finding  it  won't  express  the 
facts,  adds  another  hypothesis  to  correct  it.  Now  I  do  not 
wish  just  yet  to  '  commit  myself '  about  the  existence  or  non- 
existence  of  the  ego,  but  I  do  contend  that  we  need  not 
invoke  it  for  this  particular  reason — namely,  because  tk<j 
manifold  of  ideas  has  to  be  reduced  to  unity.  There  is  no 
manifold  of  coexisting  ideas ;  the  notion  of  such  a  thing  is 
a  chimera.  Whatever  things  are  thought  in  relation  are 
thought  from  the  outset  in  a  unity,  in  a  single  pulse  of  *ubjec- 
tivity,  a  single  psychosis,  feeling,  or  state  of  mind. 

The  reason  why  this  fact  is  so  strangely  garbled  ^n  the 
books  seems  to  be  what  on  an  earlier  page  (see  p.  196  ff.)  I 
called  the  psychologist's  fallacy.  We  have  the  inveterate 
habit,  whenever  we  try  introspectively  to  describe  o\ie  of 
our  thoughts,  of  dropping  the  thought  as  it  is  in  itseK  and 
talking  of  something  else.  We  describe  the  things  that 
appear  to  the  thought,  and  we  describe  other  thoughts 
about  those  things — as  if  these  and  the  original  thought 
were  the  same.  If,  for  example,  the  thought  be  '  the  pack 
of  cards  is  on  the  table,'  we  say,  "  Well,  isn't  it  a  thought  of 
the  pack  of  cards  ?  Isn't  it  of  the  cards  as  included  in  the 
pack  ?  Isn't  it  of  the  table  ?  And  of  the  legs  of  the  table 
as  well  ?  The  table  has  legs — how  can  you  think  the  table 
without  virtually  thinking  its  legs?  Hasn't  our  thought 
then,  all  these  parts — one  part  for  the  pack  and  another  for 
the  table  ?  And  within  the  pack-part  a  part  for  each  card, 
as  within  the  table-part  a  part  for  each  leg  ?  And  isn't 
each  of  these  parts  an  idea  ?  And  can  our  thought,  then, 
be  anything  but  an  assemblage  or  pack  of  ideas,  each 
answering  to  some  element  of  what  it  knows?" 

Now  not  one  of  these  assumptions  is  true.  The  thought 
taken  as  an  example  is,  in  the  first  place,  not  of  '  a  pack  of 
cards.'  It  is  of  'the-pack-of-cards-is-on-the-table,'  an  en 
tirely  different  subjective  phenomenon,  whose  Object  implies 
the  pack,  and  every  one  of  the  cards  in  it,  but  whose  conscious 
Constitution  bears  very  little  resemblance  to  that  of  the 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  279 

thought  of  the  pack  per  se.  What  a  thought  is,  and  what  it 
may  be  developed  into,  or  explained  to  stand  for,  and  be 
equivalent  to,  are  two  things,  not  one.* 

An  analysis  of  what  passes  through  the  mind  as  we  utter 
the  phrase  the  pack  of  cards  is  on  the  table  will,  I  hope,  make 
this  clear,  and  may  at  the  same  time  condense  into  a  con 
crete  example  a  good  deal  of  what  has  gone  before. 


3 

The  pack  of  cards  is  on  the  table 

FIG.  29. —The  Stream  of  Consciousness. 

It  takes  time  to  utter  the  phrase.  Let  the  horizontal 
line  in  Fig.  29  represent  time.  Every  part  of  it  will  then 
stand  for  a  fraction,  every  point  for  an  instant,  of  the  time. 
Of  course  the  thought  has  time-parts.  The  part  2-3  of  it, 
though  continuous  with  1-2,  is  yet  a  different  part  from  1-2. 
Now  I  say  of  these  time-parts  that  we  cannot  take  any  one 
of  them  so  short  that  it  will  not  after  some  fashion  or  other 
be  a  thought  of  the  whole  object  'the  pack  of  cards  is  on 
the  table.'  They  melt  into  each  other  like  dissolving  views, 
and  no  two  of  them  feel  the  object  just  alike,  but  each  feels 
the  total  object  in  a  unitary  undivided  way.  This  is  what 
I  mean  by  denying  that  in  the  thought  any  parts  can  be 
found  corresponding  to  the  object's  parts.  Time-parts  are 
not  such  parts. 

*  I  know  there  are  readers  whom  nothing  can  convince  that  the  thought 
of  a  complex  object  has  not  as  many  parts  as  are  discriminated  in  the  ob 
ject  itself.  Well,  then,  let  the  word  parts  pass.  Only  observe  that  these 
parts  are  not  the  separate  'ideas'  of  traditional  psychology.  No  one  of 
them  can  live  out  of  that  particular  thought,  any  more  than  my  bead  can 
live  off  of  my  particular  shoulders.  In  a  sense  a  soap-bubble  has  parts;  it  is 
a  sum  of  juxtaposed  spherical  triangles.  But  these  triangles  are  not  sepa 
rate  realities;  neither  are  the  '  parts'  of  the  thought  separate  realities. 
Touch  the  bubble  and  the  triangles  are  no  more.  Dismiss  the  thought 
and  out  go  its  parts.  You  can  no  more  make  a  new  thought  out  of  '  ideas' 
that  have  once  served  than  you  can  make  a  new  bubble  out  of  old  triangles 
Bach  bubble,  each  thought,  is  a  fresh  organic  unity,  sui  generis 


280  PSYCHOLOGY. 

Now  let  the  vertical  dimensions  of  the  figure  stand  for 
the  objects  or  contents  of  the  thoughts.  A  line  vertical  to 
any  point  of  the  horizontal,  as  1-1',  will  then  symbolize  the 
object  in  the  mind  at  the  instant  1 ;  a  space  above  the  hori 
zontal,  as  1-1'— 2'— 2,  will  symbolize  all  that  passes  through 
the  mind  during  the  time  1-2  whose  line  it  covers.  The 
entire  diagram  from  0  to  0'  represents  a  finite  length  of 
thought's  stream. 

Can  we  now  define  the  psychic  constitution  of  each  ver 
tical  section  of  this  segment  ?  We  can,  though  in  a  very 
rough  way.  Immediately  after  0,  even  before  we  have 
opened  our  mouths  to  speak,  the  entire  thought  is  present  to 
our  mind  in  the  form  of  an  intention  to  utter  that  sentence. 
This  intention,  though  it  has  no  simple  name,  and  though 
it  is  a  transitive  state  immediately  displaced  by  the  first 
word,  is  yet  a  perfectly  determinate  phase  of  thought, 
unlike  anything  else  (see  p.  253).  Again,  immediately 
before  0',  after  the  last  word  of  the  sentence  is  spoken,  all 
will  admit  that  we  again  think  its  entire  content  as  we 
inwardly  realize  its  completed  deliverance.  All  vertical 
sections  made  through  any  other  parts  of  the  diagram  will 
be  respectively  filled  with  other  ways  of  feeling  the  sen 
tence's  meaning.  Through  2,  for  example,  the  cards  will 
be  the  part  of  the  object  most  emphatically  present  to  the 
mind  ;  through  4,  the  table.  The  stream  is  made  higher  in 
the  drawing  at  its  end  than  at  its  beginning,  because  the 
final  way  of  feeling  the  content  is  fuller  and  richer  than  the 
initial  way.  As  Joubert  says,  "  we  only  know  just  what  we 
meant  to  say,  after  we  have  said  it."  And  as  M.  V.  Eggef 
remarks,  "  before  speaking,  one  barely  knows  what  one  in 
tends  to  say,  but  afterwards  one  is  filled  with  admiration 
and  surprise  at  having  said  and  thought  it  so  well." 

This  latter  author  seems  to  me  to  have  kept  at  much 
closer  quarters  with  the  facts  than  any  other  analyst  of  con 
sciousness.*  But  even  he  does  not  quite  hit  the  mark,  for, 
as  I  understand  him,  he  thinks  that  each  word  as  it  occu 
pies  the  mind  displaces  the  rest  of  the  thought's  content. 
He  distinguishes  the  'idea'  (what  I  have  called  the  total 

*  In  his  work,  La  Parole  luterieure  (Paris,  1881),  especially  chapters 
vi  and  vii. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  281 

object  or  meaning)  from  the  consciousness  of  the  words, 
calling  the  former  a  very  feeble  state,  and  contrasting  it 
with  the  liveliness  of  the  words,  even  when  these  are  only 
silently  rehearsed.  "  The  feeling,"  he  says,  "  of  the  words 
makes  ten  or  twenty  times  more  noise  in  our  consciousness 
than  the  sense  of  the  phrase,  which  for  consciousness  is  a 
very  slight  matter."  *  And  having  distinguished  these  two 
things,  he  goes  on  to  separate  them  in  time,  saying  that  the 
idea  may  either  precede  or  follow  the  words,  but  that  it  is 
a 'pure  illusion 'to  suppose  them  simultaneous. f  Now  I 
believe  that  in  all  cases  where  the  words  are  understood,  the 
total  idea  may  be  and  usually  is  present  not  only  before 
and  after  the  phrase  has  been  spoken,  but  also  whilst  each 
separate  word  is  uttered.  :f  It  is  the  overtone,  halo,  or  fringe 
of  the  word,  as  spoken  in  that  sentence.  It  is  never  absent ; 
no  word  in  an  understood  sentence  comes  to  consciousness 
as  a  mere  noise.  We  feel  its  meaning  as  it  passes ;  and 
although  our  object  differs  from  one  moment  to  another  as 
to  its  verbal  kernel  or  nucleus,  yet  it  is  similar  throughout 
the  entire  segment  of  the  stream.  The  same  object  is 
known  everywhere,  now  from  the  point  of  view,  if  we  may 
so  call  it,  of  this  word,  now  from  the  point  of  view  of  that. 
And  in  our  feeling  of  each  word  there  chimes  an  echo  or 
foretaste  of  every  other.  The  consciousness  of  the  '  Idea ' 

*  Page  30l7~~ 

f  Page  218.  To  prove  this  point,  M.  Egger  appeals  to  the  fact  that  we 
often  hear  some  one  speak  whilst  our  mind  is  preoccupied,  but  do  not  under 
stand  him  until  some  moments  afterwards,  when  we  suddenly  '  realize ' 
what  he  meant.  Also  to  our  digging  out  the  meaning  of  a  sentence  in  an 
unfamiliar  tongue,  where  the  words  are  present  to  us  long  before  the  idea 
is  taken  in.  In  these  special  cases  the  word  does  indeed  precede  the  idea. 
The  idea,  on  the  contrary,  precedes  the  word  whenever  we  try  to  express 
ourselves  with  effort,  as  in  a  foreign  tongue,  or  in  an  unusual  Held  of  intel 
lectual  invention.  Both  sets  of  cases,  however,  are  exceptional,  and  M. 
Egger  would  probably  himself  admit,  on  reflection,  that  in  the  former  class 
there  is  some  sort  of  a  verbal  suffusion,  however  evanescent,  of  the  idea, 
when  it  is  grasped— we  hear  the  echo  of  the  words  as  we  catch  their  mean 
ing.  And  he  would  probably  admit  that  in  the  second  class  of  cases  the 
idea  persists  after  the  words  that  came  with  so  much  effort  are  found.  In 
normal  cases  the  simultaneity,  as  he  admits,  is  obviously  there. 

\  A  good  way  to  get  the  words  and  the  sense  separately  is  to  inwardly 
articulate  word  for  word  the  discourse  of  another.  One  then  finds  thai 
the  meaning  will  often  come  to  the  mind  in  pulses,  after  clauses  or  sen 
tences  are  finished. 


282 


PSYCHOLOGY. 


and  that  of  the  words  are  thus  consubstantial.  They 
are  made  of  the  same  'mind-stuff,'  and  form  an  un 
broken  stream.  Annihilate  a  mind  at  any  instant,  cut 
its  thought  through  whilst  yet  uncompleted,  and  examine 
the  object  present  to  the  cross-section  thus  suddenly 
made ;  you  will  find,  not  the  bald  word  in  process  of  ut 
terance,  but  that  word  suffused  with  the  whole  idea.  The 
word  may  be  so  loud,  as  M.  Egger  would  say,  that  we 
cannot  tell  just  how  its  suffusion,  as  such,  feels,  or  how  it 
differs  from  the  suffusion  of  the  next  word.  But  it  does 
differ  ;  and  we  may  be  sure  that,  could  we  see  into  the  brain, 
we  should  find  the  same  processes  active  through  the  entire 
sentence  in  different  degrees,  each  one  in  turn  becoming 
maximally  excited  and  then  yielding  the  momentary  verbal 
*  kernel,'  to  the  thought's  content,  at  other  times  being  only 
sub-excited,  and  then  combining  with  the  other  sub-excited 
processes  to  give  the  overtone  or  fringe.* 

We  may  illustrate  this  by  a  farther 
development  of  the  diagram  on  p.  279. 
Let  the  objective  content  of  any  ver 
tical   section   through   the  stream  be 
represented  no  longer  by  a  line,  but  by 
a  plane  figure,  highest  opposite  whatever  part  of  the  object 
is  most  prominent  in  consciousness 
at  the  moment  when  the  section  is 
made.    This  part,  in  verbal  thought, 
will  usually  be  some  word.     A  series 
of  sections  1-1',  taken  at  the  moments 
1,  2,  3,  would  then  look  like  this: 

The  horizontal  breadth  stands  for  the  entire  object 
in  each  of  the  figures ;  the  height 
of  the  curve  above  each  part  of 
that  object  marks  the  relative 
prominence  of  that  part  in  the 
thought.  At  the  moment  symbol 
ized  by  the  first  figure  pack  is  the 
prominent  part ;  in  the  third  figure  it  is  table,  etc. 

*  The  nearest  approach  (with  which  I  am  acquainted)  tolhe  doctrine 
set  forth  here  is  in  O.  Liebmann'a  Zur  Analysis  der  Wirklichkeit  PD 
427-438. 


The  pack  of  cards  is  on  the  tab! 
FIG.  80. 


The  pack  of  cards  is  on  the  table. 
FIG.  31. 


The  pack  of  cards  is  on  the  table, 
FIG.  32. 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  283 

We  can  easily  add  all  these  plane  sections  together  to 
make  a  solid,  one  of  whose  solid  dimensions  will  represent 
time,  whilst  a  cut  across  this  at  right  angles  will  give  the 
thought's  content  at  the  moment  when  the  cut  is  made. 


FIG.  33. 

Let  it  be  the  thought, '  I  am  the  same  I  that  I  was  yesterday.1 
If  at  the  fourth  moment  of  time  we  annihilate  the  thinker  and 
examine  how  the  last  pulsation  of  his  consciousness  was 
n.  ade,  we  find  that  it  was  an  awareness  of  the  whole  content 
with  same  most  prominent,  and  the  other  parts  of  the  thing 
known  relatively  less  distinct.  With  each  prolongation  of 
the  scheme  in  the  time-direction,  the  summit  of  the  curve 
of  section  would  come  further  towards  the  end  of  the  sen 
tence.  If  we  make  a  solid  wooden  frame  with  the  sentence 
written  on  its  front,  and  the  time-scale  on  one  of  its  sides, 
if  we  spread  flatly  a  sheet  of  India  rubber  over  its  top,  on 
which  rectangular  co-ordinates  are  painted,  and  slide  a 
smooth  ball  under  the  rubber  in  the  direction  from  0  to 
'  yesterday,'  the  bulging  of  the  membrane  along  this  diagonal 
at  successive  moments  will  symbolize  the  changing  of  the 
thought's  content  in  a  way  plain  enough,  after  what  has 
been  said,  to  call  for  no  more  explanation.  Or  to  express 
it  in  cerebral  terms,  it  will  show  the  relative  intensities,  at 
successive  moments,  of  the  several  nerve-processes  to 
which  the  various  parts  of  the  thought-object  correspond. 

The  last  peculiarity  of  consciousness  to  which  attention 
is  to  be  drawn  in  this  first  rough  description  of  its  stream 
is  that 


284  PSYCHOLOGY. 

5)  It  is  always  interested  more  in  one  part  of  its  object  than  in 
another,  and  welcomes  and  rejects,  or  chooses,  all  the  ivhile 
it  thinks. 

The  phenomena  of  selective  attention  and  of  delibera 
tive  will  are  of  course  patent  examples  of  this  choosing 
activity.  But  few  of  us  are  aware  how  incessantly  it  is  at 
work  in  operations  not  ordinarily  called  by  these  names. 
Accentuation  and  Emphasis  are  present  in  every  perception 
we  have.  We  find  it  quite  impossible  to  disperse  our 
attention  impartially  over  a  number  of  impressions.  A 
monotonous  succession  of  sonorous  strokes  is  broken  up 
into  rhythms,  now  of  one  sort,  now  of  another,  by  the  dif 
ferent  accent  which  we  place  on  different  strokes.  The 
simplest  of  these  rhythms  is  the  double  one,  tick-tock,  tick- 
tock,  tick-tock.  Dots  dispersed  on  a  surface  are  perceived 
in  rows  and  groups.  Lines  separate  into  diverse  figures. 
The  ubiquity  of  the  distinctions,  this  and  that,  here  and 
there,  noio  and  then,  in  our  minds  is  the  result  of  our  laying 
the  same  selective  emphasis  on  parts  of  place  and  time. 

But  we  do  far  more  than  emphasize  things,  and  unite 
some,  and  keep  others  apart.  We  actually  ignore  most  of  the 
things  before  us.  Let  me  briefly  show  how  this  goes  on. 

To  begin  at  the  bottom,  what  are  our  very  senses  them 
selves  but  organs  of  selection  ?  Out  of  the  infinite  chaos 
of  movements,  of  which  physics  teaches  us  that  the  outer 
world  consists,  each  sense-organ  picks  out  those  which  fall 
within  certain  limits  of  velocity.  To  these  it  responds,  but 
ignores  the  rest  as  completely  as  if  they  did  not  exist.  It 
thus  accentuates  particular  movements  in  a  manner  for 
which  objectively  there  seems  no  valid  ground ;  for,  as 
Lange  says,  there  is  no  reason  whatever  to  think  that  the 
gap  *in  Nature  between  the  highest  sound-waves  and  the 
lowest  heat-waves  is  an  abrupt  break  like  that  of  our  sen 
sations  ;  or  that  the  difference  between  violet  and  ultra 
violet  rays  has  anything  like  the  objective  importance  sub 
jectively  represented  by  that  between  light  and  darkness. 
Out  of  what  is  in  itself  an  undistinguishable,  swarming 
continuum,  devoid  of  distinction  or  emphasis,  our  senses 
make  for  us,  by  attending  to  this  motion  and  ignoring  that, 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  285 

a  world  full  of  contrasts,  of  sharp  accents,  of  abrupt  changes, 
of  picturesque  light  and  shade. 

If  the  sensations  we  receive  from  a  given  organ  have 
their  causes  thus  picked  out  for  us  by  the  conformation  of 
the  organ's  termination,  Attention,  on  the  other  hand,  out 
of  all  the  sensations  yielded,  picks  out  certain  ones  as 
worthy  of  its  notice  and  suppresses  all  the  rest.  Helm- 
holtz's  work  on  Optics  is  little  more  than  a  study  of  those 
visual  sensations  of  which  common  men  never  become 
aware — blind  spots,  muscce  volitantes,  after-images,  irradia 
tion,  chromatic  fringes,  marginal  changes  of  color,  double 
images,  astigmatism,  movements  of  accommodation  and 
convergence,  retinal  rivalry,  and  more  besides.  We  do  not 
even  know  without  special  training  on  which  of  our  e}res  an 
image  falls.  So  habitually  ignorant  are  most  men  of  this 
that  one  may  be  blind  for  years  of  a  single  eye  and  never 
know  the  fact. 

Helmholtz  says  that  we  notice  only  those  sensations 
which  are  signs  to  us  of  things.  But  what  are  things  ?  Noth 
ing,  as  we  shall  abundantly  see,  but  special  groups  of  sen 
sible  qualities,  which  happen  practically  or  aesthetically  to 
interest  us,  to  which  we  therefore  give  substantive  names,  and 
which  we  exalt  to  this  exclusive  status  of  independence  and 
dignity.  But  in  itself,  apart  from  my  interest,  a  particular 
dust-wreath  on  a  windy  day  is  just  as  much  of  an  individual 
thing,  and  just  as  much  or  as  little  deserves  an  individual 
name,  as  my  own  body  does. 

And  then,  among  the  sensations  we  get  from  each  sepa 
rate  thing,  what  happens  ?  The  mind  selects  again.  It 
chooses  certain  of  the  sensations  to  represent  the  thing 
most  truly,  and  considers  the  rest  as  its  appearances,  modi 
fied  by  the  conditions  of  the  moment.  Thus  my  table-top 
is  named  square,  after  but  one  of  an  infinite  number  of 
retinal  sensations  which  it  yields,  the  rest  of  them  being 
sensations  of  two  acute  and  two  obtuse  angles  ;  but  I  call 
the  latter  perspective  views,  and  the  four  right  angles  the 
true  form  of  the  table,  and  erect  the  attribute  squareness 
into  the  table's  essence,  for  aesthetic  reasons  of  my  own. 
In  like  manner,  the  real  form  of  the  circle  is  deemed  to  be 
the  sensation  it  gives  when  the  line  of  vision  is  perpendicu- 


286  PSYCHOLOGY. 

lar  to  its  centre — all  its  other  sensations  are  signs  of  this 
sensation.  The  real  sound  of  the  cannon  is  the  sensation 
it  makes  when  the  ear  is  close  by.  The  real  color  of  the 
brick  is  the  sensation  it  gives  when  the  eye  looks  squarely 
at  it  from  a  near  point,  out  of  the  sunshine  and  yet  not  in 
the  gloom  ;  under  other  circumstances  it  gives  us  other 
color-sensations  which  are  but  signs  of  this — we  then  see 
it  looks  pinker  or  blacker  than  it  really  is.  The  reader 
knows  no  object  which  he  does  not  represent  to  himself  by 
preference  as  in  some  typical  attitude,  of  some  normal  size, 
at  some  characteristic  distance,  of  some  standard  tint, 
etc.,  etc.  But  all  these  essential  characteristics,  which  to 
gether  form  for  us  the  genuine  objectivity  of  the  thing  and 
are  contrasted  with  what  we  call  the  subjective  sensations 
it  may  yield  us  at  a  given  moment,  are  mere  sensations  like 
the  latter.  The  mind  chooses  to  suit  itself,  and  decides 
what  particular  sensation  shall  be  held  more  real  and  valid 
than  all  the  rest. 

Thus  perception  involves  a  twofold  choice.  Out  of  all 
present  sensations,  we  notice  mainly  such  as  are  significant 
of  absent  ones  ;  and  out  of  all  the  absent  associates  which 
these  suggest,  we  again  pick  out  a  very  few  to  stand  for  the 
objective  reality  par  excellence.  We  could  have  no  more 
exquisite  example  of  selective  industry. 

That  industry  goes  on  to  deal  with  the  things  thus  given 
in  perception.  A  man's  empirical  thought  depends  on  the 
things  he  has  experienced,  but  what  these  shall  be  is  to  a 
large  extent  determined  by  his  habits  of  attention.  A  thing 
may  be  present  to  him  a  thousand  times,  but  if  he  persist 
ently  fails  to  notice  it,  it  cannot  be  said  to  enter  into  his  ex 
perience.  We  are  all  seeing  flies,  moths,  and  beetles  by  the 
thousand,  but  to  whom,  save  an  entomologist,  do  they  say 
anything  distinct  ?  On  the  other  hand,  a  thing  met  only  once 
in  a  lifetime  may  leave  an  indelible  experience  in  the  mem 
ory.  Let  four  men  make  a  tour  in  Europe.  One  will  bring 
home  only  picturesque  impressions — costumes  and  colors, 
parks  and  views  and  works  of  architecture,  pictures  and  stat 
ues.  To  another  all  this  will  be  non-existent ;  and  distances 
and  prices,  populations  and  drainage-arrangements,  door- 
and  window-fastenings,  and  other  useful  statistics  will  take 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  287 

their  place.  A  third  will  give  a  rich  account  of  the  theatres, 
restaurants,  and  public  balls,  and  naught  beside ;  whilst 
the  fourth  will  perhaps  have  been  so  wrapped  in  his  own 
subjective  broodings  as  to  tell  little  more  than  a  few  names 
of  places  through  which  he  passed.  Each  has  selected,  out 
of  the  same  mass  of  presented  objects,  those  which  suited 
his  private  interest  and  has  made  his  experience  thereby. 

If,  now,  leaving  the  empirical  combination  of  objects, 
we  ask  how  the  mind  proceeds  rationally  to  connect  them, 
we  find  selection  again  to  be  omnipotent.  In  a  future 
chapter  we  shall  see  that  all  lieasoning  depends  on  the 
ability  of  the  mind  to  break  up  the  totality  of  the  phe 
nomenon  reasoned  about,  into  parts,  and  to  pick  out  from 
among  these  the  particular  one  which,  in  our  given  emer 
gency,  may  lead  to  the  proper  conclusion.  Another  pre 
dicament  will  need  another  conclusion,  and  require  another 
element  to  be  picked  out.  The  man  of  genius  is  he  who 
will  always  stick  in  his  bill  at  the  right  point,  and  bring  it 
out  with  the  right  element— 'reason '  if  the  emergency  be 
theoretical,  '  means '  if  it  be  practical — transfixed  upon  it. 
I  here  confine  myself  to  this  brief  statement,  but  it  may 
suffice  to  show  that  Eeasoning  is  but  another  form  of  the 
selective  activity  of  the  mind. 

If  now  we  pass  to  its  aesthetic  department,  our  law  is 
still  more  obvious.  The  artist  notoriously  selects  his  items, 
rejecting  all  tones,  colors,  shapes,  which  do  not  harmonize 
with  each  other  and  with  the  main  purpose  of  his  work. 
That  unity,  harmony,  'convergence  of  characters,'  as  M. 
Taine  calls  it,  which  gives  to  works  of  art  their  superiority 
over  works  of  nature,  is  wholly  due  to  elimination.  Any 
natural  subject  will  do,  if  the  artist  has  wit  enough  to 
pounce  upon  some  one  feature  of  it  as  characteristic,  and 
suppress  all  merely  accidental  items  which  do  not  harmon 
ize  with  this. 

Ascending  still  higher,  we  reach  the  plane  of  Ethics, 
where  choice  reigns  notoriously  supreme.  An  act  has  no 
ethical  quality  whatever  unless  it  be  chosen  out  of  several 
all  equally  possible.  To  sustain  the  arguments  for  the 
good  course  and  keep  them  ever  before  us,  to  stifle  our 


288  PSYCHOLOGY. 

longing  for  more  flowery  ways,  to  keep  the  foot  unflinch 
ingly  on  the  arduous  path,  these  are  characteristic  ethical 
energies.  But  more  than  these ;  for  these  but  deal  with 
the  means  of  compassing  interests  already  felt  by  the  man 
to  be  supreme.  The  ethical  energy  par  excellence  has  to  go 
farther  and  choose  which  interest  out  of  several,  equally 
coercive,  shall  become  supreme.  The  issue  here  is  of  the 
utmost  pregnancy,  for  it  decides  a  man's  entire  career. 
When  he  debates,  Shall  I  commit  this  crime?  choose  that 
profession  ?  accept  that  office,  or  marry  this  fortune  ? — his 
choice  really  lies  between  one  of  several  equally  possible 
I  future  Characters.  What  he  shall  become  is  fixed  by  the 
conduct  of  this  moment.  Schopenhauer,  who  enforces  his 
determinism  by  the  argument  that  with  a  given  fixed  charac 
ter  only  one  reaction  is  possible  under  given  circumstances, 
forgets  that,  in  these  critical  ethical  moments,  what  con 
sciously  seems  to  be  in  question  is  the  complexion  of  the 
character  itself.  The  problem  with  the  man  is  less  what 
act  he  shall  now  choose  to  do,  than  what  being  he  shall 
now  resolve  to  become. 

Looking  back,  then,  over  this  review,  we  see  that  the  mind 
is  at  every  stage  a  theatre  of  simultaneous  possibilities. 
Consciousness  consists  in  the  comparison  of  these  with  each 
other,  the  selection  of  some,  and  the  suppression  of  the  rest 
by  the  reinforcing  and  inhibiting  agency  of  attention.  The 
highest  and  most  elaborated  mental  products  are  filtered 
from  the  data  chosen  by  the  faculty  next  beneath,  out  of 
the  mass  offered  by  the  faculty  below  that,  which  mass  in 
turn  was  sifted  from  a  still  larger  amount  of  yet  simpler 
material,  and  so  on.  The  mind,  in  short,  works  on  the 
data  it  receives  very  much  as  a  sculptor  works  on  his  block 
of  stone.  In  a  sense  the  statue  stood  there  from  eternity. 
But  there  were  a  thousand  different  ones  beside  it,  and 
the  sculptor  alone  is  to  thank  for  having  extricated  this  one 
from  the  rest.  Just  so  the  world  of  each  of  us,  howsoever 
different  our  several  views  of  it  may  be,  all  lay  embedded 
in  the  primordial  chaos  of  sensations,  which  gave  the  mere 
matter  to  the  thought  of  all  of  us  indifferently.  We  may, 
if  we  like,  by  our  reasonings  unwind  things  back  to  that 


THE  STREAM  OF  THOUGHT.  289 

black  and  jointless  continuity  of  space  and  moving  clouds 
of  swarming  atoms  which  science  calls  the  only  real  world. 
But  all  the  while  the  world  ice  feel  and  live  in  will  be  that 
which  our  ancestors  and  we,  by  slowly  cumulative  strokes 
of  choice,  have  extricated  out  of  this,  like  sculptors,  by 
simply  rejecting  certain  portions  of  the  given  stuff.  Other 
sculptors,  other  statues  from  the  same  stone  !  Other  minds, 
other  worlds  from  the  same  monotonous  and  inexpressive 
chaos  !  My  world  is  but  one  in  a  million  alike  embedded, 
alike  real  to  those  who  may  abstract  them.  How  different 
must  be  the  worlds  in  the  consciousness  of  ant,  cuttle-fish, 
or  crab ! 

But  in  my  mind  and  your  mind  the  rejected  portions  and 
the  selected  portions  of  the  original  world-stuff  are  to  a 
great  extent  the  same.  The  human  race  as  a  whole  largely 
agrees  as  to  what  it  shall  notice  and  name,  and  what  not. 
And  among  the  noticed  parts  we  select  in  much  the  same 
way  for  accentuation  and  preference  or  subordination  and 
dislike.  There  is,  however,  one  entirely  extraordinary  case 
in  which  no  two  men  ever  are  known  to  choose  alike.  One 
great  splitting  of  the  whole  universe  into  two  halves  is 
made  by  each  of  us ;  and  for  each  of  us  almost  all  of  the 
interest  attaches  to  one  of  the  halves  ;  but  we  all  draw 
the  line  of  division  between  them  in  a  different  place. 
When  I  say  that  we  all  call  the  two  halves  by  the  same 
names,  and  that  those  names  are  '  me '  and  '  not-me '  re 
spectively,  it  will  at  once  be  seen  what  I  mean.  The  alto 
gether  unique  kind  of  interest  which  each  human  mind 
feels  in  those  parts  of  creation  which  it  can  call  me  or  mine 
may  be  a  moral  riddle,  but  it  is  a  fundamental  psychologi 
cal  fact.  No  mind  can  take  the  same  interest  in  his  neigh 
bor's  me  as  in  his  own.  The  neighbor's  me  falls  togethei 
with  all  the  rest  of  things  in  one  foreign  mass,  against  which 
his  own  me  stands  out  in  startling  relief.  Even  the  trodden 
worm,  as  Lotze  somewhere  says,  contrasts  his  own  suffer 
ing  self  with  the  whole  remaining  universe,  though  he  have 
no  clear  conception  either  of  himself  or  of  what  the  uni 
verse  may  be.  He  is  for  me  a  mere  part  of  the  world  ; 


290  PSYCHOLOGY. 

for  him  it  is  I  who  am  the  mere  part.     Each  of  us  dichoto 
mizes  the  Kosmos  in  a  different  place. 

Descending  now  to  finer  work  than  this  first  general 
sketch,  let  us  in  the  next  chapter  try  to  trace  the  psy 
chology  of  this  fact  of  self-consciousness  to  which  we  have 
thus  once  more  been  led. 


CHAPTER  X. 

THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF. 

LET  us  begin  with  the  Self  in  its  widest  acceptation, 
and  follow  it  up  to  its  most  delicate  and  subtle  form,  ad 
vancing  from  the  study  of  the  empirical,  as  the  Germans 
call  it,  to  that  of  the  pure,  Ego. 

THE    EMPIRICAL    SELF    OR    ME. 

The  Empirical  Self  of  each  of  us  is  all  that  he  is 
tempted  to  call  by  the  name  of  me.  But  it  is  clear  that 
between  what  a  man  calls  me  and  what  he  simply  calls 
mine  the  line  is  difficult  to  draw.  We  feel  and  act  about 
certain  things  that  are  ours  very  much  as  we  feel  and  act 
about  ourselves.  Our  fame,  our  children,  the  work  of  our 
hands,  may  be  as  dear  to  us  as  our  bodies  are,  and  arouse 
the  same  feelings  and  the  same  acts  of  reprisal  if  attacked. 
And  our  bodies  themselves,  are  they  simply  ours,  or  are 
they  us  ?  Certainly  men  have  been  ready  to  disown  their 
very  bodies  and  to  regard  them  as  mere  vestures,  or  even 
as  prisons  of  clay  from  which  they  should  some  day  be  glad 
to  escape. 

We  see  then  that  we  are  dealing  with  a  fluctuating 
material.  The  same  object  being  sometimes  treated  as  a 
part  of  me,  at  other  times  as  simply  mine,  and  then  agaiL 
as  if  I  had  nothing  to  do  with  it  at  all.  In  its  ividesi 
possible  sense,  however,  a  man's  Self  is  the  sum  fatal  of  all 
that  he  CAN  call  his,  not  only  his  body  and  his  psychic  powers, 
but  his  clothes  and  his  house,  his  wife  and  children,  his 
ancestors  and  friends,  his  reputation  and  works,  his  lands 
and  horses,  and  yacht  and  bank-account.  All  these  things* 
give  him  the  same  emotions.  If  they  wax  and  prosper,  h# 
feels  triumphant ;  if  they  dwindle  and  die  away,  he  feels* 
cast  down, — not  necessarily  in  the  same  degree  for  each 

291 


292  PSYCHOLOGY. 

thing,  but  in  much  the  same  way  for  all.  Understanding 
5  the  Self  in  this  widest  sense,  we  may  begin  by  dividing  the 
'  history  of  it  into  three  parts,  relating  respectively  to — 

1.  Its  constituents ; 

2.  The  feelings  and  emotions  they  arouse, — Self -feelings  ; 

3.  The  actions  to  which  they  prompt, — Self -seeking  and 
Self-preservation. 

1.   The  constituents  of  the  Self  may  be  divided  into  two 
classes,  those  which  make  up  respectively — 

(a)  The  material  Self; 

(b)  The  social  Self ; 

(c)  The  spiritual  Self ;  and 

(d)  The  pure  Ego. 

(a)  The  body  is  the  innermost  part  of  the  material  Self 
in  each  of  us ;  and  certain  parts  of  the  body  seem  more 
intimately  ours  than  the  rest.  The  clothes  come  next. 
The  old  saying  that  the  human  person  is  composed  of 
three  parts— soul,  body  and  clothes — is  more  than  a  joke. 
We  so  appropriate  our  clothes  and  identify  ourselves  with 
them  that  there  are  few  of  us  who,  if  asked  to  choose 
between  having  a  beautiful  body  clad  in  raiment  perpetu 
ally  shabby  and  unclean,  and  having  an  ugly  and  blemished 
form  always  spotlessly  attired,  would  not  hesitate  a  moment 
before  making  a  decisive  reply. *  Next,  our  immediate 
family  is  a  part  of  ourselves.  Our  father  and  mother,  our 
wife  and  babes,  are  bone  of  our  bone  and  flesh  of  our 
flesh.  When  they  die,  a  part  of  our  very  selves  is  gone. 
If  they  do  anything  wrong,  it  is  our  shame.  If  they  are 
insulted,  our  anger  flashes  forth  as  readily  as  if  we  stood  in 
their  place.  Our  home  comes  next.  Its  scenes  are  part 
of  our  life ;  its  aspects  awaken  the  tenderest  feelings  of 
affection ;  and  we  do  not  easily  forgive  the  stranger  who, 
;  in  visiting  it,  finds  fault  with  its  arrangements  or  treats  it 
'  with  contempt.  All  these  different  things  are  the  objects 
of  instinctive  preferences  coupled  with  the  most  impor 
tant  practical  interests  of  life.  We  all  have  a  blind  im 
pulse  to  watch  over  our  body,  to  deck  it  with  clothing  of 

*  See,  for  a  charming  passage  on  the  Philosophy  of  Dress,  H.  Lotze's 
Microcosmus,  Eng.  tr.  vol.  i.  p.  592  ff. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  293 

an  ornamental  sort,  to  cherish  parents,  wife  and  babes, 
and  to  find  for  ourselves  a  home  of  our  own  which  we  may 
live  in  and  'improve.' 

An  equally  instinctive  impulse  drives  us  to  collect  prop 
erty  ;  and  the  collections  thus  made  become,  with  different 
degrees  of  intimacy,  parts  of  our  empirical  selves.  The 
parts  of  our  wealth  most  intimately  ours  are  those  which 
are  saturated  with  our  labor.  There  are  few  men  who 
would  not  feel  personally  annihilated  if  a  life-long  con 
struction  of  their  hands  or  brains — say  an  entomological 
collection  or  an  extensive  work  in  manuscript — were 
/  suddenly  swept  away.  The  miser  feels  similarly  towards 
his  gold,  and  although  it  is  true  that  a  part  of  our  depres 
sion  at  the  loss  of  possessions  is  due  to  our  feeling  that  we 
must  now  go  without  certain  goods  that  we  expected  the 
possessions  to  bring  in  their  train,  yet  in  every  case  there 
remains,  over  and  above  this,  a  sense  of  the  shrinkage  of 
our  personality,  a  partial  conversion  of  ourselves  to 
nothingness,  which  is  a  psychological  phenomenon  by 
itself.  We  are  all  at  once  assimilated  to  the  tramps  and 
poor  devils  whom  we  so  despise,  and  at  the  same  time  re 
moved  farther  than  ever  away  from  the  happy  sons  ot 
earth  who  lord  it  over  land  and  sea  and  men  in  the  full 
blown  lustihood  that  wealth  and  power  can  give,  and 
before  whom,  stiffen  ourselves  as  we  will  by  appealing  to 
|  anti-snobbish  first  principles,  we  cannot  escape  an  emo- 
1  tion,  open  or  sneaking,  of  respect  and  dread. 

(b)  A  mans  Social  Self  is  the  recognition  which  he  gets 
from  his  mates.  We  are  not  only  gregarious  animals,  liking 
to  be  in  sight  of  our  fellows,  but  we  have  an  innate  propen 
sity  to  get  ourselves  noticed,  and  noticed  favorably,  by  our 
kind.  No  more  fiendish  punishment  could  be  devised, 
were  such  a  thing  physically  possible,  than  that  one  should 
be  turned  loose  in  society  and  remain  absolutely  unnoticed 
by  all  the  members  thereof.  If  no  one  turned  round  when 
we  entered,  answered  when  we  spoke,  or  minded  what  we 
did,  but  if  every  person  we  met  *  cut  us  dead,'  and  acted  as 
if  we  were  non-existing  things,  a  kind  of  rage  and  impotent 
despair  would  ere  long  well  up  in  us,  from  which  the 


294  PSYCHOLOGY. 

cruellest  bodily  tortures  would  be  a  relief  ;  for  these  would 
make  us  feel  that,  however  bad  might  be  our  plight,  we  had 

:  not  sunk  to  such  a  depth  as  to  be  unworthy  of  attention 
at  all. 

Properly  speaking,  a  man  has  as  many  social  selves  as 
there  are  individuals  ivho  recognize  him  and  carry  an  image 
of  him  in  their  mind.  To  wound  any  one  of  these  his 
images  is  to  wound  him.*  But  as  the  individuals  who 
carry  the  images  fall  naturally  into  classes,  we  may  practi 
cally  say  that  he  has  as  many  different  social  selves  as 
there  are  distinct  groups  of  persons  about  whose  opinion 
he  cares.  He  generally  shows  a  different  side  of  himself 
to  each  of  these  different  groups.  Many  a  youth  who  is 
demure  enough  before  his  parents  and  teachers,  swears 
and  swaggers  like  a  pirate  among  his  '  tough  '  young  friends. 
We  do  not  show  ourselves  to  our  children  as  to  our  club- 
companions,  to  our  customers  as  to  the  laborers  we  em 
ploy,  to  our  own  masters  and  employers  as  to  our  intimate 
friends.  From  this  there  results  what  practically  is  a 

I  division  of  the  man  into  several  selves;  and  this  may  be  a 
•  discordant  splitting,  as  where  one  is  afraid  to  let  one  set  of 
his  acquaintances  know  him  as  he  is  elsewhere  ;  or  it  may 
be  a  perfectly  harmonious  division  of  labor,  as  where  one 
tender  to  his  children  is  stern  to  the  soldiers  or  prisoners 
under  his  command. 

The  most  peculiar  social  self  which  one  is  apt  to  have 
is  in  the  mind  of  the  person  one  is  in  love  with.  The 
good  or  bad  fortunes  of  this  self  cause  the  most  intense 
elation  and  dejection — unreasonable  enough  as  measured 

j  by  every  other  standard  than  that  of  the  organic  feeling  of 

j  the  individual.  To  his  own  consciousness  he  is  not,  so  long 
as  this  particular  social  self  fails  to  get  recognition,  and 
when  it  is  recognized  his  contentment  passes  all  bounds. 

A  man's  fame,  good  or  bad,  and  his  honor  or  dishonor, 
are  names  for  one  of  his  social  selves.  The  particular 
social  self  of  a  man  called  his  honor  is  usually  the  result 
of  one  of  those  splittings  of  which  we  have  spoken.  It  is 
his  image  in  the  eyes  of  his  own  '  set,'  which  exalts  or  con- 

*  "  Who  filches  from  me  my  good  name,"  etc. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  295 

demns  him  as  he  conforms  or  not  to  certain  requirements 
that  may  not  be  made  of  one  in  another  walk  of  life.  Thus 
a  layman  may  abandon  a  city  infected  with  cholera ;  but  a 
priest  or  a  doctor  would  think  such  an  act  incompatible 
with  his  honor.  A  soldier's  honor  requires  him  to  fight  or 
to  die  under  circumstances  where  another  man  can  apolo-  \ 
gize  or  run  away  with  no  stain  upon  his  social  self.  A 
judge,  a  statesman,  are  in  like  manner  debarred  by  the 
honor  of  their  cloth  from  entering  into  pecuniary  relations 
perfectly  honorable  to  persons  in  private  life.  Nothing  is 
commoner  than  to  hear  people  discriminate  between  their 
different  selves  of  this  sort :  "As  a  man  I  pity  you,  but  as 
an  official  I  must  show  you  no  mercy ;  as  a  politician  I 
regard  him  as  an  ally,  but  as  a  moralist  I  loathe  him  ;"  etc., 
etc.  What  may  be  called  '  club-opinion '  is  one  of  the  very 
strongest  forces  in  life.*  The  thief  must  not  steal  from 
other  thieves  ;  the  gambler  must  pay  his  gambling-debts, 
though  he  pay  110  other  debts  in  the  world.  The  code  of 
honor  of  fashionable  society  has  throughout  history  been 
full  of  permissions  as  well  as  of  vetoes,  the  only  reason  for 
following  either  of  which  is  that  so  we  best  serve  one  of 

* "  He  who  imagines  commendation  and  disgrace  not  to  be  strong 
motives  on  men  .  .  .  seems  little  skilled  in  the  nature  and  history  of  man 
kind;  the  greatest  part  whereof  he  shall  find  to  govern  themselves  chiefly, 
if  not  solely,  by  this  law  of  fashion  ;  and  so  they  do  that  which  keeps 
them  in  reputation  with  their  company,  little  regard  the  laws  of  God  or  the 
magistrate.  The  penalties  that  attend  the  breach  of  God's  laws  some,  nay, 
most,  men  seldom  seriously  reflect  on;  and  amongst  those  that  do,  many, 
whilst  they  break  the  laws,  entertain  thoughts  of  future  reconciliation, 
and  making  their  peace  for  such  breaches :  and  as  tc  the  punishments  due 
from  the  laws  of  the  commonwealth,  they  frequently  flatter  themselves 
with  the  hope  of  impunity.  But  no  man  escapes  the  punishment  of  their 
censure  and  dislike  who  offends  against  the  fashion  and  opinion  of  the 
company  he  keeps,  and  would  recommend  himself  to.  Nor  is  there  one 
in  ten  thousand  who  is  stiff  and  insensible  enough  to  bear  up  under  the 
constant  dislike  and  condemnation  of  his  own  club.  He  must  be  of  a 
strange  and  unusual  constitution  who  can  content  himself  to  live  in  con 
stant  disgrace  and  disrepute  with  his  own  particular  society.  Solitude  many 
men  have  sought  and  been  reconciled  to;  but  nobody  that  has  the  least 
thought  or  sense  of  a  man  about  him  can  live  in  society  under  the 
constant  dislike  and  ill  opinion  of  his  familiars  and  those  he  converses 
with.  This  is  a  burden  too  heavy  for  human  sufferance:  and  he  must  be 
made  up  of  irreconcilable  contradictions  who  can  take  pleasure  in  com 
pany  and  yet  be  insensible  of  contempt  and  disgrace  from  his  companions. " 
(Jjocke's  Essay,  book  n.  ch.  xxvin.  §  12.) 


296  PSYCHOLOGY. 

our  social  selves.  You  must  not  lie  in  general,  but  you 
may  lie  as  much  as  you  please  if  asked  about  your  relations 
with  a  lady ;  you  must  accept  a  challenge  from  an  equal, 
but  if  challenged  by  an  inferior  you  may  laugh  him  to 
scorn  :  these  are  examples  of  what  is  meant. 

(c)  By  the  Spiritual  Self,  so  far  as  it  belongs  to  the 
Empirical  Me,  I  mean  a  man's  inner  or  subjective  being,  his 
psychic  faculties  or  dispositions,  taken  concretely ;  not  the 
bare  principle  of  personal  Unity,  or  '  pure '  Ego,  which 
remains  still  to  be  discussed.  These  psychic  dispositions 
are  the  most  enduring  and  intimate  part  of  the  self,  that 
which  we  most  verily  seem  to  be.  We  take  a  purer  self- 
satisfaction  when  we  think  of  our  ability  to  argue  and  dis 
criminate,  of  our  moral  sensibility  and  conscience,  of  our 
indomitable  will,  than  when  we  survey  any  of  our  other 
possessions.  Only  when  these  are  altered  is  a  man  said  to 
be  alienatus  a  se. 

Now  this  spiritual  self  may  be  considered  in  various 
ways.  We  may  divide  it  into  faculties,  as  just  instanced, 
isolating  them  one  from  another,  and  identifying  ourselves 
with  either  in  turn.  This  is  an  abstract  way  of  dealing  with 
consciousness,  in  which,  as  it  actually  presents  itself,  a 
plurality  of  such  faculties  are  always  to  be  simultaneously 
found ;  or  we  may  insist  on  a  concrete  view,  and  then  the 
1  spiritual  self  in  us  will  be  either  the  entire  stream  of  our 
)  personal  consciousness,  or  the  present  '  segment '  or  '  sec 
tion  '  *  of  that  stream,  according  as  we  take  a  broader  or  a 
narrower  view — both  the  stream  and  the  section  being  con 
crete  existences  in  time,  and  each  being  a  unity  after  its 
own  peculiar  kind.  But  whether  we  take  it  abstractly  or 
concretely,  our  considering  the  spiritual  self  at  all  is  a 
reflective  process,  is  the  result  of  our  abandoning  the  out 
ward-looking  point  of  view,  and  of  our  having  become  able 
to  think  of  subjectivity  as  such,  to  think  ourselves  as  thinkers. 

This  attention  to  thought  as  such,  and  the  identification 
of  ourselves  with  it  rather  than  with  any  of  the  objects 
which  it  reveals,  is  a  momentous  and  in  some  respects  a 
rather  mysterious  operation,  of  which  we  need  here  only 
say  that  as  a  matter  of  fact  it  exists ;  and  that  in  everyone, 
at  an  early  age,  the  distinction  between  thought  as  such, 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  297 

and  what  it  is  '  of  '  or  '  about/  has  become  familiar  to  the 
mind.  The  deeper  grounds  for  this  discrimination  may 
possibly  be  hard  to  find  ;  but  superficial  grounds  are  plenty 
and  near  at  hand.  Almost  anyone  will  tell  us  that  thought 
is  a  different  sort  of  existence  from  things,  because  many 
sorts  of  thought  are  of  no  things — e.g.,  pleasures,  pains, 
and  emotions  ;  others  are  of  non-existent  things— errors 
and  fictions  ;  others  again  of  existent  things,  but  in  a  form 
that  is  symbolic  and  does  not  resemble  them — abstract  y 
ideas  and  concepts  ;  whilst  in  the  thoughts  that  do  resem-  ' 
ble  the  things  they  are  '  of '  (percepts,  sensations),  we  can 
feel,  alongside  of  the  thing  known,  the  thought  of  it  going 
on  as  an  altogether  separate  act  and  operation  in  the  mind. 

Now  this  subjective  life  of  ours,  distinguished  as  such 
so  clearly  from  the  objects  known  by  its  means,  may,  as 
aforesaid,  be  taken  by  us  in  a  concrete  or  in  an  abstract 
way.  Of  the  concrete  way  I  will  say  nothing  just  now,  ex 
cept  that  the  actual  '  section '  of  the  stream  will  ere  long, 
in  our  discussion  of  the  nature  of  the  principle  of  unity  in 
consciousness,  play  a  very  important  part.  The  abstract 
way  claims  our  attention  first.  If  the  stream  as  a  whole  is 
identified  with  the  Self  far  more  than  any  outward  thing,  a 
certain  portion  of  the  stream  abstracted  from  the  rest  is  so  , 
identified  in  an  altogether  peculiar  degree,  and  is  felt  by  all  | 
men  as  a  sort  of  innermost  centre  within  the  circle,  of  sanc 
tuary  within  the  citadel,  constituted  by  the  subjective  life 
as  a  whole.  Compared  with  this  element  of  the  stream, 
the  other  parts,  even  of  the  subjective  life,  seem  transient 
external  possessions,  of  which  each  in  turn  can  be  disowned, 
whilst  that  which  disowns  them  remains.  Now,  ivhat  is 
this  self  of  all  the  other  selves  ? 

Probably  all  men  would  describe  it  in  much  the  same 
way  up  to  a  certain  point.  They  would  call  it  the  active 
element  in  all  consciousness ;  saying  that  whatever  quali 
ties  a  man's  feelings  may  possess,  or  whatever  content  his 
thought  may  include,  there  is  a  spiritual  something  in 
him  which  seems  to  go  out  to  meet  these  qualities  and 
contents,  whilst  they  seem  to  come  in  to  be  received  by  it. 
It  is  what  welcomes  or  rejects.  It  presides  over  the  per 
ception  of  sensations,  and  by  giving  or  withholding  its 


298  PSYCHOLOGY. 

assent  it  influences  the  movements  they  tend  to  arouse. 
It  is  the  home  of  interest, — not  the  pleasant  or  the  painful, 
not  even  pleasure  or  pain,  as  such,  but  that  within  us  to 
which  pleasure  and  pain,  the  pleasant  and  the  painful,  speak. 

I  It  is  the  source  of  effort  and  attention,  and  the  place  from 
which  appear  to  emanate  the  fiats  of  the  will.  A  physiol 
ogist  who  should  reflect  upon  it  in  his  own  person  could 
hardly  help,  I  should  think,  connecting  it  more  or  less 
vaguely  with  the  process  by  which  ideas  or  incoming  sensa 
tions  are  '  reflected  '  or  pass  over  into  outward  acts.  Not 
necessarily  that  it  should  be  this  process  or  the  mere  feel 
ing  of  this  process,  but  that  it  should  be  in  some  close  way 
related  to  this  process  ;  for  it  plays  a  part  analogous  to  it  in 
the  psychic  life,  being  a  sort  of  junction  at  which  sensory 
ideas  terminate  and  from  which  motor  ideas  proceed,  and 
forming  a  kind  of  link  between  the  two.  Being  more  in- 

I  cessantly  there  than  any  other  single  element  of  the  mental 
life,  the  other  elements  end  by  seeming  to  accrete  round  it 

1  and  to  belong  to  it.  It  become  opposed  to  them  as  the  per 
manent  is  opposed  to  the  changing  and  inconstant. 

One  may,  I  think,  without  fear  of  being  upset  by  any 
future  Galtonian  circulars,  believe  that  all  men  must  single 
out  from  the  rest  of  what  they  call  themselves  some  central 

(  principle  of  which  each  would  recognize  the  foregoing  to  be 

(  a  fair  general  description,— accurate  enough,  at  any  rate,  to 
denote  what  is  meant,  and  keep  it  unconfused  with  other 
things.  The  moment,  however,  they  came  to  closer  quarters 
with  it,  trying  to  define  more  accurately  its  precise  nature, 
we  should  find  opinions  beginning  to  diverge.  Some  would 
say  that  it  is  a  simple  active  substance,  the  soul,  of  which 
they  are  thus  conscious ;  others,  that  it  is  nothing  but  a 
fiction,  the  imaginary  being  denoted  by  the  pronoun  I ;  and 
between  these  extremes  of  opinion  all  sorts  of  intermediaries 
would  be  found. 

Later  we  must  ourselves  discuss  them  all,  and  sufficient 
to  that  day  will  be  the  evil  thereof.  Now,  let  us  try  to 
settle  for  ourselves  as  definitely  as  we  can,  just  how  this 
central  nucleus  of  the  Self  may  feel,  no  matter  whether  it  be 
a  spiritual  substance  or  only  a  delusive  word. 

For  this  central  part  of  the  Self  is  felt.    It  may  be  all  that 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  299 

Transcendentalists  say  it  is,  and  all  tliat  Empiricists  say  it 
is  into  the  bargain,  but  it  is  at  any  rate  no  mere  ens  rationis, 
Cognized  only  in  an  intellectual  way,  and  no  mere  summation 
of  memories  or  mere  sound  of  a  word  in  our  ears.  It  is  some- 
tiling  with  which  we  also  have  direct  sensible  acquaintance, 
and  which  is  as  fully  present  at  any  moment  of  conscious 
ness  in  which  it  is  present,  as  in  a  whole  lifetime  of  such 
moments.  When,  just  now,  it  was  called  an  abstraction, 
that  did  not  mean  that,  like  some  general  notion,  it  could 
not  be  presented  in  a  particular  experience.  It  only  meant 
that  in  the  stream  of  consciousness  it  never  was  found  all 
alone.  But  when  it  is  found,  it  is  felt;  just  as  the  body  is 
felt,  the  feeling  of  which  is  also  an  abstraction,  because  never 
is  the  body  felt  all  alone,  but  always  together  with  other 
things.  Now  can  we  tell  more  precisely  in  wliat  the  feeling  of 
this  central  active  self  consists, — not  necessarily  as  yet  what 
the  active  self  is,  as  a  being  or  principle,  but  what  we  feel 
when  we  become  aware  of  its  existence? 

I  think  I  can  in  my  own  case  ;  and  as  what  I  say  will 
be  likely  to  meet  with  opposition  if  generalized  (as  indeed 
it  may  be  in  part  inapplicable  to  other  individuals),  I  had 
better  continue  in  the  first  person,  leaving  my  description 
to  be  accepted  by  those  to  whose  introspection  it  may  com-j 
mend  itself  as  true,  and  confessing  my  inability  to  meet  the 
demands  of  others,  if  others  there  be. 

First  of  all,  I  am  aware  of  a  constant  play  of  furtherances 
and  Inndrances  in  my  thinking,  of  checks  and  releases,  ten 
dencies  which  run  with  desire,  and  tendencies  which  run  the 
other  way.  Among  the  matters  I  think  of,  some  range  them 
selves  on  the  side  of  the  thought's  interests,  whilst  others 
play  an  unfriendly  part  thereto.  The  mutual  inconsisten 
cies  and  agreements,  reinforcements  and  obstructions,  which 
obtain  amonst  these  objective  matters  reverberate  back 
wards  and  produce  what  seem  to  be  incessant  reactions  of 
my  spontaneity  upon  them,  welcoming  or  opposing,  appro 
priating  or  disowning,  striving  with  or  against,  saying  yes 
or  no.  This  palpitating  inward  life  is,  in  me,  that  central 
nucleus  which  I  just  tried  to  describe  in  terms  that  all  men 
might  use. 

But  when  I  forsake  such  general  descriptions  and  grai? 


800  PSYCHOLOGY. 

pie  with  particulars,  coming  to  the  closest  possible  quarters 
with  the  facts,  it  is  difficult  for  me  to  detect  in  the  activity  any 
purely  spiritual  dement  at  all.  Whenever  my  introspective 
glance  succeeds  in  turning  round  quickly  enough  to  catch  one  of 
these  manifestations  of  spontaneity  in  the  act,  all  it  can  ever  feel 
J  jj  distinctly  is  some  bodily  process,  for  the  most  part  taking  place 
within  the  head.  Omitting  for  a  moment  what  is  obscure  in 
these  introspective  results,  let  me  try  to  state  those  particu 
lars  which  to  my  own  consciousness  seem  indubitable  and 
distinct. 

In  the  first  place,  the  acts  of  attending,  assenting,  ne 
gating,  making  an  effort,  are  felt  as  movements  of  some 
thing  in  the  head.  In  many  cases  it  is  possible  to  describe 
these  movements  quite  exactly.  In  attending  to  either  an 
idea  or  a  sensation  belonging  to  a  particular  sense-sphere, 
the  movement  is  the  adjustment  of  the  sense-organ,  felt  as 
it  occurs.  I  cannot  think  in  visual  terms,  for  example, 
without  feeling  a  fluctuating  play  of  pressures,  converg 
ences,  divergences,  and  accommodations  in  my  eyeballs. 
The  direction  in  which  the  object  is  conceived  to  lie  deter 
mines  the  character  of  these  movements,  the  feeling  of 
which  becomes,  for  my  consciousness,  identified  with  the 
manner  in  which  I  make  myself  ready  to  receive  the  visible 
thing.  My  brain  appears  to  me  as  if  all  shot  across  with 
lines  of  direction,  of  which  I  have  become  conscious  as  my 
attention  has  shifted  from  one  sense-organ  to  another,  in 
passing  to  successive  outer  things,  or  in  following  trains  of 
varying  sense-ideas. 

When  I  try  to  remember  or  reflect,  the  movements  in 
question,  instead  of  being  directed  towards  the  periphery, 
seem  to  come  from  the  periphery  inwards  and  feel  like  a 
sort  of  withdrawal  from  the  outer  world.  As  far  as  I  can 
detect,  these  feelings  are  clue  to  an  actual  rolling  outwards 
and  upwards  of  the  eyeballs,  such  as  I  believe  occurs  in 
,  j  me  in  sleep,  and  is  the  exact  opposite  of  their  action  in  fix 
ating  a  physical  thing.  In  reasoning,  I  find  that  I  am  apt 
to  have  a  kind  of  vaguely  localized  diagram  in  my  mind, 
with  the  various  fractional  objects  of  the  thought  disposed 
at  particular  points  thereof ;  and  the  oscillations  of  my  at 
tention  from  one  of  them  to  another  are  most  distinctly  felt 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  301 

as  alternations  of  direction  in  movements  occurring  inside 
the  head.* 

In  consenting  and  negating,  and  in  making  a  mental 
effort,  the  movements  seem  more  complex,  and  I  find  them 
harder  to  describe.  The  opening  and  closing  of  the  glottis 
play  a  great  part  in  these  operations,  and,  less  distinctly, 
the  movements  of  the  soft  palate,  etc.,  shutting  off  the  pos 
terior  nares  from  the  mouth.  My  glottis  is  like  a  sensitive 
valve,  intercepting  my  breath  instantaneously  at  every 
mental  hesitation  or  felt  aversion  to  the  objects  of  my 
thought,  and  as  quickly  opening,  to  let  the  air  pass  through 
my  throat  and  nose,  the  moment  the  repugnance  is  over 
come.  The  feeling  of  the  movement  of  this  air  is,  in  me, 
one  strong  ingredient  of  the  feeling  of  assent.  The  move 
ments  of  the  muscles  of  the  brow  and  eyelids  also  respond 
very  sensitively  to  every  fluctuation  in  the  agreeableness 
or  disagreeableness  of  what  comes  before  my  mind. 

In  effort  of  any  sort,  contractions  of  the  jaw-muscles  and 
of  those  of  respiration  are  added  to  those  of  the  brow  and 
glottis,  and  thus  the  feeling  passes  out  of  the  head  proper 
ly  so  called.  It  passes  out  of  the  head  whenever  the  wel 
coming  or  rejecting  of  the  object  is  strongly  felt.  Then  a 
set  of  feelings  pour  in  from  many  bodily  parts,  all  '  expres 
sive  '  of  my  emotion,  and  the  head-feelings  proper  are 
swallowed  up  in  this  larger  mass. 

In  a  sense,  then,  it  may  be  truly  said  that,  in  one  per 
son  at  least,  the  '  Self  of  selves,'  ivhen  carefully  examined, 
is  found  to  consist  mainly  of  the  collection  of  these  peculiar 
motions  in  the  head  or  between  the  head  and  throat.  I  do 
not  for  a  moment  say  that  this  is  all  it  consists  of,  for  I 
fully  realize  how  desperately  hard  is  introspection  in  this 
field.  But  I  feel  quite  sure  that  these  cephalic  motions  are 
the  portions  of  my  innermost  activity  of  which  I  am  most 
distinctly  aware.  If  the  dim  portions  which  I  cannot  yet 
define  should  prove  to  be  like  unto  these  distinct  portions 
in  me,  and  I  like  other  men,  it  would  follow  that  our  entire 
feeling  of  spiritual  activity,  or  what  commonly  passes  by  that 

*  For  some  farther  remarks  on  these  feelings  of  movement  see  the 
next  chapter. 


302  P8TCHOLOG  Y. 

name,  is  really  a  feeling  of  bodily  activities  whose  exact  nature 
is  by  most  men  overlooked. 

Now,  without  pledging  ourselves  in  any  way  to  adopt  this 
hypothesis,  let  us  dally  with  it  for  a  while  to  see  to  what 
consequences  it  might  lead  if  it  were  true. 

In  the  first  place,  the  nuclear  part  of  the  Self,  inter 
mediary  between  ideas  and  overt  acts,  would  be  a  collection 
of  activities  physiologically  in  no  essential  way  different 
from  the  overt  acts  themselves.  If  we  divide  all  possible 
physiological  acts  into  adjustments  and  executions,  the 
nuclear  self  would  be  the  adjustments  collectively  consid 
ered  ;  and  the  less  intimate,  more  shifting  self,  so  far  as 
it  was  active,  would  be  the  executions.  But  both  adjust 
ments  and  executions  would  obey  the  reflex  type.  Both 
would  be  the  result  of  sensorial  and  ideational  processes 
discharging  either  into  each  other  within  the  brain,  or  into 
muscles  and  other  parts  oiitside.  The  peculiarity  of  the 
adjustments  would  be  that  they  are  minimal  reflexes,  few 
in  number,  incessantly  repeated,  constant  amid  great  fluc 
tuations  in  the  rest  of  the  mind's  content,  and  entirely 
unimportant  and  uninteresting  except  through  their  uses 
in  furthering  or  inhibiting  the  presence  of  various  things, 
and  actions  before  consciousness.  These  characters  would 
naturally  keep  us  from  introspectively  paying  much  atten 
tion  to  them  in  detail,  whilst  they  would  at  the  same  time 
make  us  aware  of  them  as  a  coherent  group  of  processes, 
strongly  contrasted  with  all  the  other  things  consciousness 
contained, — even  with  the  other  constituents  of  the  '  Self/ 
material,  social,  or  spiritual,  as  the  case  might  be.  They 
are  reactions,  and  they  are  primary  reactions.  Everything 
arouses  them  ;  for  objects  which  have  no  other  effects 
will  for  a  moment  contract  the  brow  and  make  the  glottis 
close.  It  is  as  if  all  that  visited  the  mind  had  to  stand  an 
entrance-examination,  and  just  show  its  face  so  as  to  be 
either  approved  or  sent  back.  These  primary  reactions 
are  like  the  opening  or  the  closing  of  the  door.  In  the 
midst  of  psychic  change  they  are  the  permanent  core 
of  turnings-towards  and  turnings-from,  of  yieldings  and 
arrests,  which  naturally  seem  central  and  interior  in  com- 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  SOB 

parison  with  the  foreign  matters,  apropos  to  which  they 
occur,  and  hold  a  sort  of  arbitrating,  decisive  position,  qnite 
unlike  that  held  by  any  of  the  other  constituents  of  the  Me. 
It  would  not  be  surprising,  then,  if  we  were  to  feel  them  as 
the  birthplace  of  conclusions  and  the  starting  point  of  acts, 
or  if  they  came  to  appear  as  what  we  called  a  while  back 
the  '  sanctuary  within  the  citadel '  of  our  personal  life.* 

*  Wundt's  account  of  Self-consciousness  deserves  to  be  compared  with 
this.  What  I  have  called  '  adjustments  '  he  calls  processes  of  '  Appercep 
tion. '  ' '  In  this  development  (of  consciousness)  one  particular  group  of  per 
cepts  claims  a  prominent  significance,  namely,  those  of  which  the  spring 
lies  in  ourselves.  The  images  of  feelings  we  get  from  our  own  body,  and 
the  representations  of  our  own  movements  distinguish  themselves  from  all 
others  by  forming  a  permanent  group.  As  there  are  always  some  muscles 
in  a  state  either  of  tension  or  of  activity  it  follows  that  we  never  lack  a 
sense,  either  dim  or  clear,  of  the  positions  or  movements  of  our  body.  .  .  . 
This  permanent  sense,  moreover,  has  this  peculiarity,  that  we  are  aware  of 
our  power  at  any  moment  voluntarily  to  arouse  any  one  of  its  ingredients. 
We  excite  the  sensations  of  movement  immediately  by  such  impulses  of  the 
will  as  shall  arouse  the  movements  themselves;  and  we  excite  the  visual 
and  tactile  feelings  of  our  body  by  the  voluntary  movement  of  our  orgaui 
of  sense.  So  we  come  to  conceive  this  permanent  mass  of  feeling  as 
immediately  or  remotely  subject  to  our  will,  and  call  it  the  consciousness  oj 
ourself.  This  self-consciousness  is,  at  the  outset,  thoroughly  sensational, 
.  .  .  only  gradually  the  second-named  of  its  characters,  its  subjection  to 
«>ur  will,  attains  predominance.  In  proportion  as  the  apperception  of  all 
our  mental  objects  appears  to  us  as  an  inward  exercise  of  will,  does  our 
self -consciousness  begin  both  to  widen  itself  and  to  narrow  itself  at  the 
same  time.  It  widens  itself  in  that  every  mental  act  whatever  comes  to 
stand  in  relation  to  our  will;  and  it  narrows  itself  in  that  it  concentrates 
Itself  more  and  more  upon  the  inner  activity  of  apperception,  over  against 
which  our  own  body  and  all  the  representations  connected  with  it  appear 
as  external  objects,  different  from  our  proper  self.  This  consciousness, 
contracted  down  to  the  process  of  apperception,  we  call  our  Ego  ;  and  the 
apperception  of  mental  objects  in  general,  may  thus,  after  Leibnitz,  be 
designated  as  the  raising  of  them  into  our  self-consciousness.  Thus  the 
natural  development  of  self-consciousness  implicitly  involves  the  most 
abstract  forms  in  which  this  faculty  has  been  described  in  philosophy;  only 
philosophy  is  fond  of  placing  the  abstract  ego  at  the  outset,  and  so  revers 
ing  the  process  of  development.  Nor  should  we  overlook  the  fact  that  the 
completely  abstract  ego  [as  pure  activity],  although  suggested  by  the 
natural  development  of  our  consciousness,  is  never  actually  found  therein. 
The  most  speculative  of  philosophers  is  incapable  of  disjoining  his  ego 
from  those  bodily  feelings  and  images  which  form  the  incessant  back 
ground  of  his  awareness  of  himself.  The  notion  of  his  ego  as  such  is,  like 
every  notion,  derived  from  sensibility,  for  the  process  of  apperception  itself 
comes  to  our  knowledge  chiefly  through  those  feelings  of  tension  [what  I 
have  above  called  inward  adjustments]  which  accompany  it."  (Physiolo- 
gische  Psychologic,  2te  Autl.  Bd.  n.  pp.  217-19.) 


304  PSYCHOLOGY. 

If  they  really  were  the  innermost  sanctuary,  the 
mate  one  of  all  the  selves  whose  being  we  can  ever  directly 
experience,  it  would  follow  that  all  that  is  experienced  is, 
strictly  considered,  objective;  that  this  Objective  falls  asun 
der  into  two  contrasted  parts,  one  realized  as  '  Self,'  the 
other  as  '  not-Self ;'  and  that  over  and  above  these  parts 
there  is  nothing  save  the  fact  that  they  are  known,  the  fact 
of  the  stream  of  thought  being  there  as  the  indispensable 
subjective  condition  of  their  being  experienced  at  all.  But 
this  condition  of  the  experience  is  not  one  of  the  things  ex 
perienced  at  the  moment ;  this  knowing  is  not  immediately 
knoivn.  It  is  only  known  in  subsequent  reflection.  Instead, 
then,  of  the  stream  of  thought  being  one  of  ccw-sciousness, 
"  thinking  its  own  existence  along  with  whatever  else  it 
thinks,"  (as  Ferrier  says)  it  might  be  better  called  a  stream 
of  Sciousness  pure  and  simple,  thinking  objects  of  some  of 
which  it  makes  what  it  calls  a  '  Me,'  and  only  aware  of  its 
1  pure  '  Self  in  an  abstract,  hypothetic  or  conceptual  way. 
Each  '  section '  of  the  stream  would  then  be  a  bit  of  scious- 
ness  or  knowledge  of  this  sort,  including  and  contemplat 
ing  its  *  me '  and  its  '  not-me '  as  objects  which  work  out  their 
drama  together,  but  not  yet  including  or  contemplating  its 
own  subjective  being.  The  sciousness  in  question  would  be 
the  Thinker,  and  the  existence  of  this  thinker  would  be  given 
to  us  rather  as  a  logical  postulate  than  as  that  direct  inner 
perception  of  spiritual  activity  which  we  naturally  believe 
ourselves  to  have.  '  Matter,'  as  something  behind  physical 
phenomena,  is  a  postulate  of  this  sort.  Between  the  postu 
lated  Matter  and  the  postulated  Thinker,  the  sheet  of  phe 
nomena  would  then  swing,  some  of  them  (the  '  realities ') 
pertaining  more  to  the  matter,  others  (the  fictions,  opinions, 
and  errors)  pertaining  more  to  the  Thinker.  But  wlio  the 
Thinker  would  be,  or  how  many  distinct  Thinkers  we  ought 
to  suppose  in  the  universe,  would  all  be  subjects  for  an 
ulterior  metaphysical  inquiry. 

Speculations  like  this  traverse  common-sense;  and  not 
only  do  they  traverse  common  sense  (which  in  philosophy 
is  no  insuperable  objection)  but  they  contradict  the  funda 
mental  assumption  of  every  philosophic  school.  Spiri 
tualists,  transcendentalists,  and  empiricists  alike  admit  in 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  305 

us  a  continual  direct  perception  of  the  thinking  activity  in 
the  concrete.  However  they  may  otherwise  disagree,  they 
vie  with  each  other  in  the  cordiality  of  their  recognition  of 
our  thoughts  as  the  one  sort  of  existent  which  skepticism 
cannot  touch. *  I  will  therefore  treat  the  last  few  pages  as 
a  parenthetical  digression,  and  from  now  to  the  end  of  the 
volume  revert  to  the  path  of  common-sense  again.  I  mean 
by  this  that  I  will  continue  to  assume  (as  I  have  assumed 
all  along,  especially  in  the  last  chapter)  a  direct  awareness 
of  the  process  of  our  thinking  as  such,  simply  insisting  on 
the  fact  that  it  is  an  even  more  inward  and  subtle  phenome 
non  than  most  of  us  suppose.  At  the  conclusion  of  the 
volume,  however,  I  may  permit  myself  to  revert  again  to  the 
doubts  here  provisionally  mooted,  and  will  indulge  in  some 
metaphysical  reflections  suggested  by  them. 

At  present,  then,  the  only  conclusion  I  come  to  is  the 
following  :  That  (in  some  persons  at  least)  the  part  of  the 
innermost  Self  which  is  most  vividly  felt  turns  out  to  con 
sist  for  the  most  part  of  a  collection  of  cephalic  move 
ments  of  '  adjustments  '  which,  for  want  of  attention  and 
reflection,  usually  fail  to  be  perceived  and  classed  as  what 
they  are  ;  that  over  and  above  these  there  is  an  obscurer 
feeling  of  something  more ;  but  whether  it  be  of  fainte" 
physiological  processes,  or  of  nothing  objective  at  all,  but 
rather  of  subjectivity  as  such,  of  thought  become  '  its  own 
object/  must  at  present  remain  an  open  question, — like  the 
question  whether  it  be  an  indivisible  active  soul-substance, 
or  the  question  whether  it  be  a  personification  of  the  pronoun 
I,  or  any  other  of  the  guesses  as  to  what  its  nature  may 
be. 

Farther  than  this  we  cannot  as  yet  go  clearly  in  our 
analysis  of  the  Self's  constituents.  So  let  us  proceed  to  the 
emotions  of  Self  which  they  arouse. 

2.  SELF-FEELINO. 

These  are  primarily  self-complacency  and  self-aissatis- 
f action.  Of  what  is  called  '  self-love,'  I  will  treat  a  little 

*The  only  exception  I  know  of  is  M.  J.  Souriau,  in  his  important 
article  in  the  Revue  Philosophique,  vol.  xxn.  p.  449.  M.  Souriau's  con 
clusion  is '  que  la  conscience  u'existe  pas  '  'p.  472). 


306  PSYCHOLOGY. 

farther  on.  Language  has  synonyms  enough  for  both  pri 
mary  feelings.  Thus  pride,  conceit,  vanity,  self-esteem, 
arrogance,  vainglory,  on  the  one  hand;  and  on  the  other 
modesty,  humility,  confusion,  diffidence,  shame,  mortifica 
tion,  contrition,  the  sense  of  obloquy  and  personal  despair. 
These  two  opposite  classes  of  affection  seem  to  be  direct  and 
elementary  endowments  of  our  nature.  Associationists 
would  have  it  that  they  are,  on  the  other  hand,  secondary 
phenomena  arising  from  a  rapid  computation  of  the  sensi 
ble  pleasures  or  pains  to  which  our  prosperous  or  debased 
personal  predicament  is  likely  to  lead,  the  sum  of  the  repre 
sented  pleasures  forming  the  self-satisfaction,  and  the  sum 
of  the  represented  pains  forming  the  opposite  feeling  of 
shame.  No  doubt,  when  we  are  self-satisfied,  we  do  fondly 
rehearse  all  possible  rewards  for  our  desert,  and  when  in  a 
fit  of  self-despair  we  forebode  evil.  But  the  mere  expecta 
tion  of  reward  is  not  the  self-satisfaction,  and  the  mere 
apprehension  of  the  evil  is  not  the  self-despair,  for  there  is 
a  certain  average  tone  of  self-feeling  which  each  one  of  us 
carries  about  with  him,  and  which  is  independent  of  the 
objective  reasons  we  may  have  for  satisfaction  or  discontent. 
That  is,  a  very  meanly-conditioned  man  may  abound  in 
unfaltering  conceit,  and  one  whose  success  in  life  is  secure 
and  who  is  esteemed  by  all  may  remain  diffident  of  his 
powers  to  the  end. 

One  may  say,  however,  that  the  normal  provocative  of 
self-feeling  is  one's  actual  success  or  failure,  and  the  good 
or  bad  actual  position  one  holds  in  the  world.  "  He  put  in 
his  thumb  and  pulled  out  a  plum,  and  said  what  a  good  boy 
am  I."  A  Eian  with  a  broadly  extended  empirical  Ego, 
with  powers  that  have  uniformly  brought  him  success,  with 
place  and  wealth  and  friends  and  fame,  is  not  likely  to  be 
visited  by  the  morbid  diffidences  and  doubts  about  himself 
which  he  had  when  he  was  a  boy.  "  Is  not  this  great 
Babylon,  which  I  have  planted  ?"  *  Whereas  he  who  has 
made  one  blunder  after  another,  and  still  lies  in  middle  life 
among  the  failures  at  the  foot  of  the  hill,  is  liable  to  grow 

*  See  the  excellent  remarks  by  Prof.  Bain  on  the  'Emotion  of  Power' 
in  his  '  Emotions  and  the  Will. ' 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  307 

all  sicklied  o'er  with  self-distrust,  and  to  shrink  from  trials 
with  which  his  powers  can  really  cope. 

The  emotions  themselves  of  self-satisfaction  and  abase 
ment  are  of  a  unique  sort,  each  as  worthy  to  be  classed  as 
a  primitive  emotional  species  as  are,  for  example,  rage  or 
pain.  Each  has  its  own  peculiar  physiognomical  expres 
sion.  In  self-satisfaction  the  extensor  muscles  are  inner 
vated,  the  eye  is  strong  and  glorious,  the  gait  rolling  and 
elastic,  the  nostril  dilated,  and  a  peculiar  smile  plays  upon 
the  lips.  This  whole  complex  of  symptoms  is  seen  in  an 
exquisite  way  in  lunatic  asylums,  which  always  contain 
some  patients  who  are  literally  mad  with  conceit,  and 
whose  fatuous  expression  and  absurdly  strutting  or  swag 
gering  gait  is  in  tragic  contrast  with  their  lack  of  any 
valuable  personal  quality.  It  is  in  these  same  castles  of 
despair  that  we  find  the  strongest  examples  of  the  opposite 
physiognomy,  in  good  people  who  think  they  have  com 
mitted  '  the  unpardonable  sin '  and  are  lost  forever,  who 
crouch  and  cringe  and  slink  from  notice,  and  are  unable  to 
speak  aloud  or  look  us  in  the  eye.  Like  fear  and  like 
anger,  in  similar  morbid  conditions,  these  opposite  feelings 
of  Self  may  be  aroused  with  no  adequate  exciting  cause. 
And  in  fact  we  ourselves  know  how  the  barometer  of  our 
self-esteem  and  confidence  rises  and  falls  from  one  day  to 
another  through  causes  that  seem  to  be  visceral  and  organic 
rather  than  rational,  and  which  certainly  answer  to  no  cor 
responding  variations  in  the  esteem  in  which  we  are  held 
by  our  friends.  Of  the  origin  of  these  emotions  in  the  race, 
we  can  speak  better  when  we  have  treated  of — 

3.    SELF-SEEKING  AKD  SELP-PBESEBVATION. 

These  words  cover  a  large  number  of  our  fundamental 
instinctive  impulses.  We  have  those  of  bodily  self-seeldng, 
those  of  social  self-seeking,  and  those  of  spiritual  self-seeking. 

All  the  ordinary  useful  reflex  actions  and  movements 
of  alimentation  and  defence  are  acts  of  bodily  self-preser 
vation.  Fear  and  anger  prompt  to  acts  that  are  useful 
in  the  same  way.  Whilst  if  by  self-seeking  we  mean 
the  providing  for  the  future  as  distinguished  from  main 
taining  the  present,  we  must  class  both  anger  and  fear 


J08  PSYCHOLOGY, 

with  the  hunting,  the  acquisitive,  the  home-constructing 
and  the  tool-constructing  instincts,  as  impulses  to  self- 
seeking  of  the  bodily  kind.  Keally,  however,  these  latter 
instincts,  with  amativeness,  parental  fondness,  curiosity 
and  emulation,  seek  not  only  the  development  of  the 
bodily  Self,  but  that  of  the  material  Self  in  the  widest  pos 
sible  sense  of  the  word. 

Our  social  self-seeking,  in  turn,  is  carried  on  directly 
through  our  amativeness  and  friendliness,  our  desire  to 
please  and  attract  notice  and  admiration,  our  emulation 
and  jealousy,  our  love  of  glory,  influence,  and  power, 
and  indirectly  through  whichever  of  the  material  self- 
seeking  impulses  prove  serviceable  as  means  to  social 
ends.  That  the  direct  social  self-seeking  impulses  are 
probably  pure  instincts  is  easily  seen.  The  noteworthy 
thing  about  the  desire  to  be  '  recognized '  by  others  is  that 
its  strength  has  so  little  to  do  with  the  worth  of  the  recog 
nition  computed  in  sensational  or  rational  terms.  We  are 
crazy  to  get  a  visiting-list  which  shall  be  large,  to  be  able 
to  say  when  any  one  is  mentioned,  "  Oh  !  I  know  him  well," 
and  to  be  bowed  to  in  the  street  by  half  the  people  we 
meet.  Of  course  distinguished  friends  and  admiring 
recognition  are  the  most  desirable — Thackeray  somewhere 
asks  his  readers  to  confess  whether  it  would  not  give 
each  of  them  an  exquisite  pleasure  to  be  met  walking  down 
Pall  Mall  with  a  duke  on  either  arm.  But  in  default  of 
dukes  and  envious  salutations  almost  anything  will  do  for 
some  of  us ;  and  there  is  a  whole  race  of  beings  to-day 
whose  passion  is  to  keep  their  names  in  the  newspapers, 
no  matter  under  what  heading,  '  arrivals  and  departures,' 
'  personal  paragraphs,'  '  interviews,' — gossip,  even  scandal, 
will  suit  them  if  nothing  better  is  to  be  had.  Guiteau, 
Garfield's  assassin,  is  an  example  of  the  extremity  to  which 
this  sort  of  craving  for  the  notoriety  of  print  may  go  in  a 
pathological  case.  The  newspapers  bounded  his  mental 
horizon  ;  and  in  the  poor  wretch's  prayer  on  the  scaffold, 
one  of  the  most  heartfelt  expressions  was  :  "  The  newspaper 
press  of  this  land  has  a  big  bill  to  settle  with  thee,  O  Lord  !'* 

Not  only  the  people  but  the  places  and  things  1  know 
enlarge  my  Self  in  a  sort  of  metaphoric  social  way.  *£7a 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  309 

me  connait,'  as  the  French  workman  says  of  tlie  implement 
he  can  use  well.  So  that  it  comes  about  that  persons  for 
whose  opinion  we  care  nothing  are  nevertheless  persons 
whose  notice  we  woo ;  and  that  many  a  man  truly  great, 
many  a  woman  truly  fastidious  in  most  respects,  will  take  a 
deal  of  trouble  to  dazzle  some  insignificant  cad  whose 
whole  personality  they  heartily  despise. 

Under  the  head  of  spiritual  self-seeking  ought  to  be 
included  every  impulse  towards  psychic  progress,  whether 
intellectual,  moral,  or  spiritual  in  the  narrow  sense  of  the 
term.  It  must  be  admitted,  however,  that  much  that  com 
monly  passes  for  spiritual  self-seeking  in  this  narrow  sense 
is  only  material  and  social  self-seeking  beyond  the  grave. 
In  the  Mohammedan  desire  for  paradise  and  the  Christian 
aspiration  not  to  be  damned  in  hell,  the  materiality  of  the 
goods  sought  is  undisguised.  In  the  more  positive  and 
refined  view  of  heaven  many  of  its  goods,  the  fellowship  of 
the  saints  and  of  our  dead  ones,  and  the  presence  of  God, 
are  but  social  goods  of  the  most  exalted  kind.  It  is  only 
the  search  of  the  redeemed  inward  nature,  the  spotlessness 
from  sin,  whether  here  or  hereafter,  that  can  count  as 
spiritual  self-seeking  pure  and  undefiled. 

But  this  broad  external  review  of  the  facts  of  the  life  01 
the  Self  will  be  incomplete  without  some  account  of  the 

RIVALRY  AND  CONFLICT  OF  THE  DIFFERENT  SELVES. 

With  most  objects  of  desire,  physical  nature  restricts  our 
choice  to  but  one  of  many  represented  goods,  and  even  so  it 
is  here.  I  am  often  confronted  by  the  necessity  of  stand 
ing  by  one  of  my  empirical  selves  and  relinquishing  the  rest. 
Not  that  I  would  not,  if  I  could,  be  both  handsome  and 
fat  and  well  dressed,  and  a  great  athlete,  and  make  a  million 
a  year,  be  a  wit,  a  bon-vivant,  and  a  lady-killer,  as  well  as  a 
philosopher ;  a  philanthropist,  statesman,  warrior,  and 
African  explorer,  as  well  as  a  '  tone-poet '  and  saint.  But 
the  thing  is  simply  impossible.  The  millionaire's  work 
would  run  counter  to  the  saint's ;  the  bon-vivant  and  the 
philanthropist  would  trip  each  other  up ;  the  philosopher 
and  the  lady-killer  could  not  well  keep  house  in  the  same 


, 


310  PSYCHOLOGY. 

tenement  of  clay.  Such  different  characters  may  conceiv 
ably  at  the  outset  of  life  be  alike  possible  to  a  man.  But 
to  make  any  one  of  them  actual,  the  rest  must  more  or  less 
be  suppressed.  So  the  seeker  of  his  truest,  strongest, 
deepest  self  must  review  the  list  carefully,  and  pick  out  the 
one  on  which  to  stake  his  salvation.  All  other  selves 
thereupon  become  unreal,  but  the  fortunes  of  this  self  are 
real.  Its  failures  are  real  failures,  its  triumphs  real  tri 
umphs,  carrying  shame  and  gladness  with  them.  This  is 
as  strong  an  example  as  there  is  of  that  selective  industry 
of  the  mind  on  which  I  insisted  some  pages  back  (p.  284  if.). 
Our  thought,  incessantly  deciding,  among  many  things  of 
a  kind,  which  ones  for  it  shall  be  realities,  here  chooses 
one  of  many  possible  selves  or  characters,  and  forthwith 
reckons  it  no  shame  to  fail  in  any  of  those  not  adopted 
expressly  as  its  own. 

II,  who  for  the  time  have  staked  my  all  on  being  a 
psychologist,  am  mortified  if  others  know  much  more 
/  psychology  than  I.  But  I  am  contented  to  wallow  in  the 
grossest  ignorance  of  Greek.  My  deficiencies  there  give  me 
no  sense  of  personal  humiliation  at  all.  Had  I '  pretensions' 
to  be  a  linguist,  it  would  have  been  just  the  reverse.  So 
we  have  the  paradox  of  a  man  shamed  to  death  because  he 
is  only  the  second  pugilist  or  the  second  oarsman  in  the 
world.  That  he  is  able  to  beat  the  whole  population  of  the 
globe  minus  one  is  nothing  ;  he  has  '  pitted '  himself  to 
beat  that  one  ;  and  as  long  as  he  doesn't  do  that  nothing 
else  counts.  He  is  to  his  own  regard  as  if  he  were  not,  in 
deed  he  is  not. 

Yonder  puny  fellow,  however,  whom  every  one  can  beat, 
suffers  no  chagrin  about  it,  for  he  has  long  ago  abandoned 
the  attempt  to  '  carry  that  line,'  as  the  merchants  say,  of 
self  at  all.  With  no  attempt  there  can  be  no  failure  ;  with 
no  failure  no  humiliation.  So  our  self-feeling  in  this  world 
depends  entirely  on  what  we  back  ourselves  to  be  and  do. 
It  is  determined  by  the  ratio  of  our  actualities  to  our  sup 
posed  potentialities ;  a  fraction  of  which  our  pretensions 
are  the  denominator  and  the  numerator  our  success  :  thus, 

rSTi  ("» /"»  O  G  Q 

Self-esteem — p^ensions  '  SucJl  a  fracti°n  ma7  be  increased 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  311 

as  well  by  diminishing  the  denominator  as  by  increasing  the 
numerator.*  To  give  up  pretensions  is  as  blessed  a  relief  a^ 
to  get  them  gratified ;  and  where  disappointment  is  incessant  , 
and  the  struggle  unending,  this  is  what  men  will  always  do. 
The  history  of  evangelical  theology,  with  its  conviction  of 
sin,  its  self-despair,  and  its  abandonment  of  salvation  by 
works,  is  the  deepest  of  possible  examples,  but  we  meet 
others  in  every  walk  of  life.  There  is  the  strangest  light 
ness  about  the  heart  when  one's  nothingness  in  a  particular 
line  is  once  accepted  in  good  faith.  All  is  not  bitterness  in 
the  lot  of  the  lover  sent  away  by  the  final  inexorable  '  No.' 
Many  Bostonians,  crede  experto  (and  inhabitants  of  other 
cities,  too,  I  fear),  would  be  happier  women  and  men  to-day, 
if  they  could  once  for  all  abandon  the  notion  of  keeping  up 
a  Musical  Self,  and  without  shame  let  people  hear  them 
call  a  symphony  a  nuisance.  How  pleasant  is  the  day  when 
we  give  up  striving  to  be  young, — or  slender  !  Thank  God ! 
we  say,  those  illusions  are  gone.  Everything  added  to  the 
Self  is  a  burden  as  well  as  a  pride.  A  certain  man  who 
lost  every  penny  during  our  civil  war  went  and  actually 
rolled  in  the  dust,  saying  he  had  not  felt  so  free  and  happy 
since  he  was  born. 

Once  more,  then,  our  self-feeling  is  in  our  power.     As 
Carlyle  says :  "  Make  thy  claim  of  wages  a  zero,  then  hast  j 
thou  the  world  under  thy  feet.     Well  did  the  wisest  of  our 
time  write,  it  is  only  with  renunciation  that  life,  properly 
speaking,  can  be  said  to  begin." 

Neither  threats  nor  pleadings  can  move  a  man  unless 
they  touch  some  one  of  his  potential  or  actual  selves.  Only 
thus  can  we,  as  a  rule,  get  a  *  purchase  '  on  another's  will. 
The  first  care  of  diplomatists  and  mouarchs  and  all  who  wish 
to  rule  or  influence  is,  accordingly,  to  find  out  their  victim's 
strongest  principle  of  self-regard,  so  as  to  make  that  the 

*  Cf.  Carlyle:  Sartor  Resartus,  'The  Everlasting  Yea.'  "Itelltbee, 
blockhead,  it  all  comes  of  thy  vanity ;  of  what  thou  fanciest  those  same 
deserts  of  thine  to  be.  Fancy  that  thou  deservest  to  be  hanged  (as  is  most 
likely),  thou  wilt  feel  it  happiness  to  be  only  shot :  fancy  that  thou  deserv 
est  to  be  hanged  in  a  hair  halter,  it  will  be  a  luxury  to  die  in  hemp.  .  .  . 
What  act  of  legislature  was  there  that  thou  shouldst  be  happy  ?  A  little 
while  ajro  thou  hadst  no  right  to  be&t  all."  etc..  etc. 


312  PSYCHOLOGY. 

fulcrum  of  all  appeals.  But  if  a  man  lias  given  up  those 
things  which  are  subject  to  foreign  fate,  and  ceased  to 
regard  them  as  parts  of  himself  at  all,  we  are  well-nigh 
powerless  over  him.  The  Stoic  receipt  for  contentment 
was  to  dispossess  yourself  in  advance  of  all  that  was  out  of 
your  own  power, — then  fortune's  shocks  might  rain  down 
unfelt.  Epictetus  exhorts  us,  by  thus  narrowing  and  at  the 
same  time  solidifying  our  Self  to  make  it  invulnerable  :  "  I 
must  die ;  well,  but  must  I  die  groaning  too  ?  I  will  speak 
what  appears  to  be  right,  and  if  the  despot  says,  then  I 
will  put  you  to  death,  I  will  reply,  '  When  did  I  ever  tell 
you  that  I  was  immortal  ?  You  will  do  your  part  and  I 
mine  ;  it  is  yours  to  kill  and  mine  to  die  intrepid  ;  yours  to 
banish,  mine  to  depart  untroubled.'  How  do  we  act  in  a 
voyage  ?  We  choose  the  pilot,  the  sailors,  the  hour.  After 
wards  comes  a  storm.  What  have  I  to  care  for  ?  My  part 
is  performed.  This  matter  belongs  to  the  pilot.  But  the 
ship  is  sinking  ;  what  then  have  I  to  do  ?  That  which  alone 
I  can  do — submit  to  being  drowned  without  fear,  without 
clamor  or  accusing  of  God,  but  as  one  who  knows  that 
what  is  born  must  likewise  die."  * 

This  Stoic  fashion,  though  efficacious  and  heroic  enough 
in  its  place  and  time,  is,  it  must  be  confessed,  only  possible 
as  an  habitual  mood  of  the  soul  to  narrow  and  unsympa 
thetic  characters.  It  proceeds  altogether  by  exclusion.  If 
I  am  a  Stoic,  the  goods  I  cannot  appropriate  cease  to  be  my 
goods,  and  the  temptation  lies  very  near  to  deny  that  they 
are  goods  at  all.  We  find  this  mode  of  protecting  the  Self 
by  exclusion  and  denial  very  common  among  people  who 
are  in  other  respects  not  Stoics.  All  narrow  people  intrench 
their  Me,  they  retract  it, — from  the  region  of  what  they  can 
not  securely  possess.  People  who  don't  resemble  them,  or 
who  treat  them  with  indifference,  people  over  whom  they 
gain  no  influence,  are  people  on  whose  existence,  however 
meritorious  it  may  intrinsically  be,  they  look  with  chill 
negation,  if  not  with  positive  hate.  Who  will  not  be  mine 
I  will  exclude  from  existence  altogether ;  that  is,  as  far  as 

*T.  W.  Higginson's  translation  Q866),  p.  105. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  313 

I  can  make  it  so,  such  people  shall  be  as  if  they  were  not.* 
Thus  may  a  certain  absoluteness  and  definiteness  in  the 
outline  of  my  Me  console  me  for  the  smallness  of  its  con 
tent. 

Sympathetic  people,  on  the  contrary,  proceed  by  the 
entirely  opposite  way  of  expansion  and  inclusion.  The  out 
line  of  their  self  often  gets  uncertain  enough,  but  for  this 
the  spread  of  its  content  more  than  atones.  Nil  humani  a 
me  alienum.  Let  them  despise  this  little  person  of  mine, 
and  treat  me  like  a  dog,  /  shall  not  negate  them  so  long  as  |w 
I  have  a  soul  in  my  body.  They  are  realities  as  much  as  I 
am.  What  positive  good  is  in  them  shall  be  mine  too,  etc., 
etc.  The  magnanimity  of  these  expansive  natures  is  often 
touching  indeed.  Such  persons  can  feel  a  sort  of  delicate 
rapture  in  thinking  that,  however  sick,  ill-favored,  mean- 
conditioned,  and  generally  forsaken  they  may  be,  they  yet 
are  integral  parts  of  the  whole  of  this  brave  world,  have  a 
fellow's  share  in  the  strength  of  the  dray-horses,  the  happi 
ness  of  the  young  people,  the  wisdom  of  the  wise  ones, 
and  are  not  altogether  without  part  or  lot  in  the  good  for 
tunes  of  the  Yanderbilts  and  the  Hohenzollerns  themselves. 
Thus  either  by  negating  or  by  embracing,  the  Ego  may  j  V  ' 
seek  to  establish  itself  in  reality.  He  who,  with  Marcus  •' 
Aurelius,  can  truly  say,  "  O  Universe,  I  wish  all  that  thou 
wishest,"  has  a  self  from  which  every  trace  of  negativeuess 
and  obstructiveness  has  been  removed — no  wind  can  blow 
except  to  fill  its  sails. 

A  tolerably  unanimous  opinion  ranges  the  different 
selves  of  which  a  man  may  be  '  seized  and  possessed,'  and 
the  consequent  different  orders  of  his  self-regard,  in  an 
hierarchical  scale,  with  the,  bodily  Self  at  the  bottom,  the 
spiritual  Self  at  top,  and  the  extracorporeal  material  selves 
and  the  various  social  selves  betiveen.  Our  merely  natural 
self-seeking  would  lead  us  to  aggrandize  all  these  selves  ; 
we  give  up  deliberately  only  those  among  them  which  we 

*  "  The  usual  mode  of  lessening  the  shock  of  disappointment  or  dises-    i 
teem  is  to  contract,  if  possible,  a  low  estimate  of  the  persons  that  inllict  it.    ' 
Thr's  is  our  remedy  for  the  unjust  censures  of  party  spirit,  as  well  as  of 
personal  malignity."    (Bain  :  Emotion  and  Will,  p.  209.) 


314  PSYCHOLOGY. 

find  we  caimot  keep.  Our  unselfishness  is  thus  apt  to  be  a 
'  virtue  of  necessity  ' ;  and  it  is  not  without  all  show  of  rea 
son  that  cynics  quote  the  fable  of  the  fox  and  the  grapes  in 
describing  our  progress  therein.  But  this  is  the  moral 
education  of  the  race  ;  and  if  we  agree  in  the  result  that 
on  the  whole  the  selves  we  can  keep  are  the  intrinsically 
best,  we  need  not  complain  of  being  led  to  the  knowledge 
of  their  superior  worth  in  such  a  tortuous  way. 

Of  course  this  is  not  the  only  way  in  which  we  learn 
to  subordinate  our  lower  selves  to  our  higher.  A  direct 
ethical  judgment  unquestionably  also  plays  its  part,  and  last, 
not  least,  we  apply  to  our  own  persons  judgments  originally 
called  forth  by  the  acts  of  others.  It  is  one  of  the  strangest 
laws  of  our  nature  that  many  things  which  we  are  well  sat 
isfied  with  in  ourselves  disgust  us  when  seen  in  others. 
,  With  another  man's  bodily  '  hoggishness '  hardly  anyone 
I  has  any  sympathy  ; — almost  as  little  with  his  cupidity,  his 
social  vanity  and  eagerness,  his  jealousy,  his  despotism, 
and  his  pride.  Left  absolutely  to  myself  I  should  probably 
allow  all  these  spontaneous  tendencies  to  luxuriate  in  me 
unchecked,  and  it  would  be  long  before  I  formed  a  distinct 
notion  of  the  order  of  their  subordination.  But  having 
constantly  to  pass  judgment  on  my  associates,  I  come  ere 
long  to  see,  as  Herr  Horwicz  says,  my  own  lusts  in  the 
mirror  of  the  lusts  of  others,  and  to  think  about  them  in  a 
very  different  way  from  that  in  which  I  simply  feel.  Of 
course,  the  moral  generalities  which  from  childhood  have 
been  instilled  into  me  accelerate  enormously  the  advent  of 
this  reflective  judgment  on  myself. 

So  it  comes  to  pass  that,  as  aforesaid,  men  have  arranged 
the  various  selves  which  they  may  seek  in  an  hierarchical 
scale  according  to  their  worth.  A  certain  amount  of  bodily 
selfishness  is  required  as  a  basis  for  all  the  other  selves. 
But  too  much  sensuality  is  despised,  or  at  best  condoned 
on  account  of  the  other  qualities  of  the  individual.  The 
wider  material  selves  are  regarded  as  higher  than  the 
immediate  body.  He  is  esteemed  a  poor  creature  who  is 
i  unable  to  forego  a  little  meat  and  drink  and  warmth  and 
sleep  for  the  sake  of  getting  on  in  the  world.  The  social 
self  as  a  whole,  again,  ranks  higher  than  the  materiallself 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  315 

as  a  whole.  We  must  care  more  for  our  honor,  our  friends, 
our  human  ties,  than  for  a  sound  skin  or  wealth.  And  the 
spiritual  self  is  so  supremely  precious  that,  rather  than 
lose  it,  a  man  ought  to  be  willing  to  give  up  friends  and 
good  fame,  and  property,  and  life  itself. 

In  each  kind  of  self,  material,  social,  and  spiritual,  men 
distinguish  between  the  immediate  and  actual,  and  the  re 
mote  and  potential,  between  the  narrower  and  the  wider 
view,  to  the  detriment  of  the  former  and  advantage  of  the 
latter.  One  must  forego  a  present  bodily  enjoyment  for 
the  sake  of  one's  general  health  ;  one  must  abandon  the 
dollar  in  the  hand  for  the  sake  of  the  hundred  dollars  to 
come  ;  one  must  make  an  enemy  of  his  present  interlocutor 
if  thereby  one  makes  friends  of  a  more  valued  circle ;  one 
must  go  without  learning  and  grace,  and  wit,  the  better  to 
compass  one's  soul's  salvation. 

Of  all  these  wider,  more  potential  selves,  the  potential 
^  social  self  is  the  most  interesting,  by  reason  of  certain 
apparent  paradoxes  to  which  it  leads  in  conduct,  and  by 
reason  of  its  connection  with  our  moral  and  religious  life. 
When  for  motives  of  honor  and  conscience  I  brave  the  con 
demnation  of  my  own  family,  club,  and  '  set ' ;  when,  as  a 
protestant,  I  turn  catholic ;  as  a  catholic,  freethinker ;  as  a 
'  regular  practitioner,'  homoeopath,  or  what  not,  I  am  always 
inwardly  strengthened  in  my  course  and  steeled  against  the 
loss  of  my  actual  social  self  by  the  thought  of  other  and 
better  possible  social  judges  than  those  whose  verdict  goes 
against  me  now.  The  ideal  social  self  which  I  thus  seek 
in  appealing  to  their  decision  may  be  very  remote  :  it  may 
be  represented  as  barely  possible.  I  may  not  hope  for  its 
realization  during  my  lifetime ;  I  may  even  expect  the 
future  generations,  which  would  approve  me  if  they  knew 
me,  to  know  nothing  about  me  when  I  am  dead  and  gone. 
jYet  still  the  emotion  that  beckons  me  on  is  indubitably 
j  the  pursuit  of  an  ideal  social  self,  of  a  self  that  is  at  least 
/  I  ivorthy  of  approving  recognition  by  the  highest  possible 
judging  companion,  if  such  companion  there  be.*  This 

*  It  must  be  observed  that  the  qualities  of  the  Self  thus  ideally  consti- 
tuted  are  all  qualities  approved  by  my  actual  fellows  in  the  first  instance  ; 
and  that  my  reason  for  now  appealing  from  their  verdict  to  that  of  the 


316  PSYCHOLOGY. 

\  self  is  the  true,  the  intimate,  the  ultimate,  the  perma- 
1  nent  Me  which  I  seek.  This  judge  is  God,  the  Absolute 
Mind,  the  'Great  Companion.'  We  hear, in  these  days  of 
scientific  enlightenment,  a  great  deal  of  discussion  about 
the  efficacy  of  prayer ;  and  many  reasons  are  given  us  why 
we  should  not  pray,  whilst  others  are  given  us  why  we 
should.  But  in  all  this  very  little  is  said  of  the  reason  why 
we  do  pray,  which  is  simply  that  we  cannot  help  praying. 
It  seems  probable  that,  in  spite  of  all  that '  science  '  may  do 
to  the  contrary,  men  will  continue  to  pray  to  the  end  of  time, 
unless  their  mental  nature  changes  in  a  manner  which 
nothing  we  know  should  lead  us  to  expect.  The  impulse 

ito  pray  is  a  necessary  consequence  of  the  fact  that  whilst 
the  innermost  of  the  empirical  selves  of  a  man  is  a  Self  of 
the  social  sort,  it  yet  can  find  its  only  adequate  Socius  in  an 
ideal  world. 

All  progress  in  the  social  Self  is  the  substitution  of 
higher  tribunals  for  lower  ;  this  ideal  tribunal  is  the  high 
est;    and   most   men,    either   continually   or   occasionally, 
carry  a  reference  to  it  in  their  breast.     The  humblest  out 
cast  on  this  earth  can  feel  himself  to  be  real  and  valid  by 
means  of  this  higher  recognition.     And,  on  the  other  hand, 
for  most  of  us,  a  world  with  no  such  inner  refuge  when  the 
outer  social  self  failed  and  dropped  from  us  would  be  the 
abyss  of   horror.     I  say  'for  most  of   us,'  because  it  is 
probable  that  individuals  differ  a  good  deal  in  the  degree 
\in  which  they  are  haunted  by  this  sense  of  an  ideal  specta- 
itor.     It  is  a  much  more  essential  part  of  the  consciousness 
of  some  men  than  of  others.     Those  who  have  the  most  of 
it  are  possibly  the  most  religious  men.     But  I  am  sure  that 
even  those  who  say  they  are  altogether  without  it  deceive 
,  themselves,  and  really  have  it  in  some  degree.     Only  a 
(non-gregarious   animal    could    be    completely    without   it. 
Probably  no  one  can  make  sacrifices  for  '  right,'   without 


ideal  judge  lies  in  some  outward  peculiarity  of  the  immediate  case.  What 
once  was  admired  in  me  as  courage  has  now  become  in  the  eyes  of  men 
'impertinence';  what  was  fortitude  is  obstinacy;  what  was  fidelity  is 
now  fanaticism.  The  ideal  judge  alone,  I  now  believe,  can  read  my 
qualities,  my  willingnesses,  my  powers,  for  what  they  truly  are.  My 
fellows,  misled  by  interest  and  prejudice,  have  gone  astray. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  317 

to  some  degree  personifying  the  principle  of  right  for 
which  the  sacrifice  is  made,  and  expecting  thanks  from  it. 
Complete  social  unselfishness,  in  other  words,  can  hardly 
exist ;  complete  social  suicide  hardly  occur  to  a  man's  mind. 
Even  such  texts  as  Job's,  "  Though  He  slay  me  yet  will  I 
trust  Him,"  or  Marcus  Aurelius's,  "If  gods  hate  me  and 
my  children,  there  is  a  reason  for  it,"  can  least  of  all  be 
cited  to  prove  the  contrary.  For  beyond  all  doubt  Job 
revelled  in  the  thought  of  Jehovah's  recognition  of  the  wor 
ship  after  the  slaying  should  have  been  done  ;  and  the  Eoman 
emperor  felt  sure  the  Absolute  Eeason  would  not  be  all 
indifferent  to  his  acquiescence  in  the  gods'  dislike.  The 
old  test  of  piety,  "Are  you  willing  to  be  damned  for  the';j 
glory  of  God?"  was  probably  never  answered  in  the  affir-  ' 
mative  except  by  those  who  felt  sure  in  their  heart  of  hearts 
that  God  would  '  credit '  them  with  their  willingness,  and 
set  more  store  by  them  thus  than  if  in  His  unfathomable 
scheme  He  had  not  damned  them  at  all. 

All  this  about  the  impossibility  of  suicide  is  said  on  the 
supposition  of  positive  motives.  When  possessed  by  the 
emotion  of /ear,  however,  we  are  in  a  negative  state  of  mind  ; 
that  is,  our  desire  is  limited  to  the  mere  banishing  of  some 
thing,  without  regard  to  what  shall  take  its  place.  In  this 
state  of  mind  there  can  unquestionably  be  genuine  thoughts, 
and  genuine  acts,  of  suicide,  spiritual  and  social,  as  well  as 
bodily.  Anything,  anything,  at  such  times,  so  as  to  escape  ! 
and  not  to  be !  But  such  conditions  of  suicidal  frenzy  are 
pathological  in  their  nature  and  run  dead  against  every 
thing  that  is  regular  in  the  life  of  the  Self  in  man. 

"WHAT  SELF  IS  LOVED  IN  '  SELF-LOVE  'P 

We  must  now  try  to  interpret  the  facts  of  self-love  and 
self-seeking  a  little  more  delicately  from  within. 

A  man  in  whom  self-seeking  of  any  sort  is  largely 
developed  is  said  to  be  selfish.*  He  is  on  the  other  hand 

*  The  kind  of  selfishness  varies  with  the  self  that  is  sought.  If  it  be 
the  mere  bodily  self;  if  a  man  grabs  the  best  food,  the  warm  corner,  the 
vacant  seat;  if  he  makes  room  for  no  one,  spits  about,  and  belches  in  our 
faces,— we  call  it  hoggishness.  If  it  be  the  social  self,  in  the  form  of  popu 
larity  or  influence,  for  which  he  is  greedy,  he  may  in  material  ways  subor- 


318  PSYCHOLOGY. 

called  unselfish  if  he  shows  consideration  for  the  interests  of 
other  selves  than  his  own.  Now  what  is  the  intimate  nature 
of  the  selfish  emotion  in  him?  and  what  is  the  primary 
object  of  its  regard  ?  We  have  described  him  pursuing  and 
fostering  as  his  self  first  one  set  of  things  and  then  another ; 
we  have  seen  the  same  set  of  facts  gain  or  lose  interest  in  his 
eyes,  leave  him  indifferent,  or  fill  him  either  with  triumph 
or  despair  according  as  he  made  pretensions  to  appropriate 
them,  treated  them  as  if  they  were  potentially  or  actually 
parts  of  himself,  or  not.  We  know  how  little  it  matters  to 
us  whether  some  man,  a  man  taken  at  large  and  in  the 
abstract,  prove  a  failure  or  succeed  in  life, — he  may  be 
hanged  for  aught  we  care, — but  we  know  the  utter  momen- 
tousness  and  terribleness  of  the  alternative  when  the  man 
is  the  one  whose  name  we  ourselves  bear,  /must  not  be 
a  failure,  is  the  very  loudest  of  the  voices  that  clamor  in 
each  of  our  breasts :  let  fail  who  may,  I  at  least  must  suc 
ceed.  Now  the  first  conclusion  which  these  facts  suggest 
is  that  each  of  us  is  animated  by  a  direct  feeling  of  regard 
for  his  oivn  pure  principle  of  individual  existence,  whatever 
that  may  be,  taken  merely  as  such.  It  appears  as  if  all  our 
concrete  manifestations  of  selfishness  might  be  the  conclu 
sions  of  as  many  syllogisms,  each  with  this  principle  as  the 
subject  of  its  major  premiss,  thus:  Whatever  is  me  is 
precious ;  this  is  me  ;  therefore  this  is  precious ;  whatever 
is  mine  must  not  fail ;  this  is  mine ;  therefore  this  must 
not  fail,  etc.  It  appears,  I  say,  as  if  this  principle  inocu 
lated  all  it  touched  with  its  own  intimate  quality  of  worth ; 
as  if,  previous  to  the  touching,  everything  might  be  matter 
of  indifference,  and  nothing  interesting  in  its  own  right ;  as 
if  my  regard  for  my  own  body  even  were  an  interest  not 
simply  in  this  body,  but  in  this  body  only  so  far  as  it  is 
mine. 

But  what  is  this  abstract  numerical  principle  of  identity, 

dinate  himself  to  others  as  the  best  means  to  his  end;  and  in  this  case  he  is 
very  apt  to  pass  for  a  disinterested  man.  If  it  be  the  'other-worldly  '  self 
which  he  seeks,  and  if  he  seeks  it  ascetically, — even  though  he  would 
rather  see  all  mankind  damned  eternally  than  lose  his  individual  soul.— 
'  saintliness '  will  probably  be  the  name  by  which  his  selfishness  will  be 
called. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  319 

this  '  Nnmber  One '  within  me,  for  which,  according  to  pro 
verbial  philosophy,  I  am  supposed  to  keep  so  constant  a 
'  lookout '  ?  Is  it  the  inner  nucleus  of  my  spiritual  self,  that 
collection  of  obscurely  felt  '  adjustments,'  plus  perhaps  that 
still  more  obscurely  perceived  subjectivity  as  such,  of  which 
we  recently  spoke?  Or  is  it  perhaps  the  concrete  stream 
of  my  thought  in  its  entirety,  or  some  one  section  of  the 
same?  Or  may  it  be  the  indivisible  Soul-Substance,  in 
which,  according  to  the  orthodox  tradition,  my  faculties 
inhere  ?  Or,  finally,  can  it  be  the  mere  pronoun  I  ?  Surely 
it  is  none  of  these  things,  that  self  for  which  I  feel  such  hot 
regard.  Though  all  of  them  together  were  put  within  me, 
I  should  still  be  cold,  and  fail  to  exhibit  anything  worthy 
of  the  name  of  selfishness  or  of  devotion  to  'Number  One.' 
To  have  a  self  that  I  can  care  for,  nature  must  first  present 
me  with  some  object  interesting  enough  to  make  me  instinc 
tively  wish  to  appropriate  it  for  its  own  sake,  and  out  of  it 
to  manufacture  one  of  those  material,  social,  or  spiritual 
selves,  which  we  have  already  passed  in  review.  We  shall 
find  that  all  the  facts  of  rivalry  and  substitution  that  have 
so  struck  us,  all  the  shiftings  and  expansions  and  contrac 
tions  of  the  sphere  of  what  shall  be  considered  me  and 
mine,  are  but  results  of  the  fact  that  certain  things  appeal 
to  primitive  and  instinctive  impulses  of  our  nature,  and 
that  we  follow  their  destinies  with  an  excitement  that  owes 
n6thing  to  a  reflective  source.  These  objects  our  con 
sciousness  treats  as  the  primordial  constituents  of  its  Me. 
Whatever  other  objects,  whether  by  association  with  the 
fate  of  these,  or  in  any  other  way,  come  to  be  followed  with 
the  same  sort  of  interest,  form  our  remoter  and  more  sec 
ondary  self.  The  words  ME,  then,  and  SELF,  so  far  as  they 
arouse  feeling  and  connote  emotional  worth,  are  OBJECTIVE 
designations,  meaning  ALL  THE  THINGS  which  have  the  power 
to  produce  in  a  stream  of  consciousness  excitement  of  a 
certain  peculiar  sort.  Let  us  try  to  justify  this  proposition 
in  detail. 

The  most  palpable  selfishness  of  a  man  is  his  bodily 
selfishness  ;  and  his  most  palpable  self  is  the  body  to  which 
that  selfishness  relates.  Now  I  say  that  he  identifies  him 
self  with  this  body  because  he  loves  it,  and  that  he  does 


820  PSYCHOLOGY. 

not  love  it  because  lie  finds  it  to  be  identified  with  himselt 
Keverting  to  natural  history-psychology  will  help  us  to  see 
the  truth  of  this.  In  the  chapter  on  Instincts  we  shall 
learn  that  every  creature  has  a  certain  selective  interest  in 
certain  portions  of  the  world,  and  that  this  interest  is  as 
often  connate  as  acquired.  Our  interest  in  things  means 
the  attention  and  emotion  which  the  thought  of  them  will 
excite,  and  the  actions  which  their  presence  will  evoke. 
Thus  every  species  is  particularly  interested  in  its  own 
prey  or  food,  its  own  enemies,  its  own  sexual  mates,  and 
its  own  young.  These  things  fascinate  by  their  intrinsic 
power  to  do  so ;  they  are  cared  for  for  their  own  sakes. 

Well,  it  stands  not  in  the  least  otherwise  with  our  bod 
ies.  They  too  are  percepts  in  our  objective  field — they  are 
simply  the  most  interesting  percepts  there.  What  happens 
to  them  excites  in  us  emotions  and  tendencies  to  action 
more  energetic  and  habitual  than  any  which  are  excited  by 
other  portions  of  the  '  field.'  What  my  comrades  call  my 
bodily  selfishness  or  self-love,  is  nothing  but  the  sum  of 
all  the  outer  acts  which  this  interest  in  my  b  xly  spontane 
ously  draws  from  me.  My  '  selfishness  '  is  here  but  a  de 
scriptive  name  for  grouping  together  the  outward  symp 
toms  which  I  show.  When  I  am  led  by  self-love  to  keep 
my  seat  whilst  ladies  stand,  or  to  grab  something  first  and 
cut  out  my  neighbor,  what  I  really  love  is  the  comfortable 
seat,  is  the  thing  itself  which  I  grab.  I  love  them  prima 
rily,  as  the  mother  loves  her  babe,  or  a  generous  man  an 
heroic  deed.  Wherever,  as  here,  self-seeking  is  the  out 
come  of  simple  instinctive  propensity,  it  is  but  a  name  for 
certain  reflex  acts.  Something  rivets  my  attention  fatally, 
and  fatally  provokes  the  '  selfish  '  response.  Could  an  au 
tomaton  be  so  skilfully  constructed  as  to  ape  these  acts,  it 
would  be  called  selfish  as  properly  as  I.  It  is  true  that  I 
am  no  automaton,  but  a  thinker.  But  my  thoughts,  like 
my  acts,  are  here  concerned  only  with  the  outward  things. 
They  need  neither  know  nor  care  for  any  pure  principle 
within.  In  fact  the  more  utterly  '  selfish  '  I  am  in  this 
primitive  way,  the  more  blindly  absorbed  my  thought  will 
be  in  the  objects  and  impulses  of  my  lusts,  and  the  more 
devoid  of  any  inward  looking  glance.  A  baby,  whose  con- 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  321 

sciousness  of  the  pure  Ego,  of  himself  as  a  thinker,  is  not 
usually  supposed  developed,  is,  in  this  way,  as  some  Ger 
man  has  said,  '  der  vollendeteste  Egoist.'  His  corporeal  per 
son,  and  what  ministers  to  its  needs,  are  the  only  self  he 
can  possibly  be  said  to  love.  His  so-called  self-love  is  but 
a  name  for  his  insensibility  to  all  but  this  one  set  of  things, 
It  may  be  that  he  needs  a  pure  principle  of  subjectivity,  a 
soul  or  pure  Ego  (he  certainly  needs  a  stream  of  thought) 
to  make  him  sensible  at  all  to  anything,  to  make  him  dis 
criminate  and  love  uberhaupt, — how  that  may  be,  we  shall 
see  ere  long ;  but  this  pure  Ego,  which  would  then  be  the 
condition  of  his  loving,  need  no  more  be  the  object  of  his 
love  than  it  need  be  the  object  of  his  thought.  If  his  in 
terests  lay  altogether  in  other  bodies  than  his  own,  if  all 
his  instincts  were  altruistic  and  all  his  acts  suicidal,  still  he 
would  need  a  principle  of  consciousness  just  as  he  does  now. 
Such  a  principle  cannot  then  be  the  principle  of  his  bodily 
selfishness  any  more  than  it  is  the  principle  of  any  other  ten 
dency  he  may  show. 

So  much  for  the  bodily  self-love.  But  my  social  self- 
love,  my  interest  in  the  images  other  men  have  framed  of 
me,  is  also  an  interest  in  a  set  of  objects  external  to  my 
thought.  These  thoughts  in  other  men's  minds  are  out  of 
my  mind  and  '  ejective '  to  me.  They  come  and  go,  and 
grow  and  dwindle,  and  I  am  puffed  up  with  pride,  or  blush 
with  shame,  at  the  result,  just  as  at  my  success  or  failure 
in  the  pursuit  of  a  material  thing.  So  that  here  again,  just 
as  in  the  former  case,  the  pure  principle  seems  out  of  the 
game  as  an  object  of  regard,  and  present  only  as  the  general 
form  or  condition  under  which  the  regard  and  the  thinking 
go  on  in  me  at  all. 

But,  it  will  immediately  be  objected,  this  is  giving  a 
mutilated  account  of  the  facts.  Those  images  of  me  in  the 
minds  of  other  men  are,  it  is  true,  things  outside  of  me, 
whose  changes  I  perceive  just  as  I  perceive  any  other  out 
ward  change.  But  the  pride  and  shame  which  I  feel  are 
not  concerned  merely  with  those  changes.  I  feel  as  if  some 
thing  else  had  changed  too,  when  I  perceive  my  image  in 
your  mind  to  have  changed  for  the  worse,  something  in  me 
to  which  that  image  belongs,  and  which  a  moment  ago  I  felt 


322  PSYCHOLOGY. 

inside  of  me,  big  and  strong  and  lusty,  but  now  weak,  con 
tracted,  and  collapsed.  Is  not  this  latter  change  the  change 
I  feel  the  shame  about  ?  Is  not  the  condition  of  this  thing 
inside  of  me  the  proper  object  of  my  egoistic  concern,  of  my 
self-regard  ?  And  is  it  not,  after  all,  my  pure  Ego,  my  bare 
numerical  principle  of  distinction  from  other  men,  and  no 
empirical  part  of  me  at  all  ? 

No,  it  is  no  such  pure  principle,  it  is  simply  my  total 
empirical  selfhood  again,  my  historic  Me,  a  collection  ol 
objective  facts,  to  which  the  depreciated  image  in  your  mind 
'  belongs.'  In  what  capacity  is  it  that  I  claim  and  demand 
a  respectful  greeting  from  you  instead  of  this  expression  of 
disdain  ?  It  is  not  as  being  a  bare  I  that  I  claim  it ;  it  is 
as  being  an  I  who  has  always  been  treated  with  respect, 
who  belongs  to  a  certain  family  and  '  set,'  who  has  certain 
powers,  possessions,  and  public  functions,  sensibilities, 
duties,  and  purposes,  and  merits  and  deserts.  All  this  is 
what  your  disdain  negates  and  contradicts  ;  this  is  '  the 
thing  inside  of  me  '  whose  changed  treatment  I  feel  the 
shame  about ;  this  is  what  was  lusty,  and  now,  in  conse 
quence  of  your  conduct,  is  collapsed ;  and  this  certainly  is 
an  empirical  objective  thing.  Indeed,  the  thing  that  is  felt 
modified  and  changed  for  the  worse  during  my  feeling  of 
shame  is  often  more  concrete  even  than  this, — it  is  simply 
my  bodily  person,  in  which  your  conduct  immediately  and 
without  any  reflection  at  all  on  my  part  works  those 
muscular,  glandular,  and  vascular  changes  which  together 
make  up  the  '  expression '  of  shame.  In  this  instinctive, 
reflex  sort  of  shame,  the  body  is  just  as  much  the  entire 
vehicle  cf  the  self-feeling  as,  in  the  coarser  cases  which  we 
first  took  up,  it  was  the  vehicle  of  the  self-seeking.  As,  in 
simple  '  hoggishness,'  a  succulent  morsel  gives  rise,  by  the 
reflex  mechanism,  to  behavior  which  the  bystanders  find 
'  greedy,'  and  consider  to  flow  from  a  certain  sort  of  *  self- 
regard  ; '  so  here  your  disdain  gives  rise,  by  a  mechanism 
quite  as  reflex  and  immediate,  to  another  sort  of  behavior, 
which  the  bystanders  call  '  shame-faced '  and  which  they 
consider  due  to  another  kind  of  self-regard.  But  in  both 
cases  there  may  be  no  particular  self  regarded  at  all  by  the 
mind  :  and  the  name  self-regard  may  be  only  a  descriptive 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  323 

title  imposed  from  without  the  reflex  acts  themselves,  and 
the  feelings  that  immediately  result  from  their  discharge. 

After  the  bodily  and  social  selves  come  the  spiritual. 
But  which  of  my  spiritual  selves  do  I  really  care  for  ?  My 
Soul-substance?  my  'transcendental  Ego,  or  Thinker'? 
my  pronoun  I?  my  subjectivity  as  such?  my  nucleus  of 
cephalic  adjustments  ?  or  my  more  phenomenal  and  perish 
able  powers,  my  loves  and  hates,  willingnesses  and  sensibil 
ities,  and  the  like  ?  Surely  the  latter.  But  they,  relatively 
to  the  central  principle,  whatever  it  may  be,  are  external 
and  objective.  They  come  and  go,  and  it  remains — "so 
shakes  the  magnet,  and  so  stands  the  pole."  It  may  indeed 
have  to  be  there  for  them  to  be  loved,  but  being  there  is 
not  identical  with  being  loved  itself. 

To  sum  up,  then,  we  see  no  reason  to  suppose  that  self-love ' 
is  primarily,  or  secondarily,  or  ever,  love  for  one's  mere  princi 
ple  of  consents  identity.  It  is  always  love  for  something 
which,  as  compared  with  that  principle,  is  superficial,  tran 
sient,  liable  to  be  taken  up  or  dropped  at  will. 

And  zoological  psychology  again  comes  to  the  aid  of 
our  understanding  and  shows  us  that  this  must  needs  be 
so.  In  fact,  in  answering  the  question  what  things  it  is  that 
a  man  loves  in  his  self-love,  we  have  implicitly  answered  the 
farther  question,  of  why  he  loves  them. 

Unless  his  consciousness  were  something  more  than 
cognitive,  unless  it  experienced  a  partiality  for  certain  of 
the  objects,  which,  in  succession,  occupy  its  ken,  it  could 
not  long  maintain  itself  in  existence  ;  for,  by  an  inscrutable 
necessity,  each  human  mind's  appearance  on  this  earth  is 
conditioned  upon  the  integrity  of  the  body  with  which  it 
belongs,  upon  the  treatment  which  that  body  gets  from 
others,  and  upon  the  spiritual  dispositions  which  use  it  as 
their  tool,  and  lead  it  either  towards  longevity  or  to  destruc 
tion.  Its  own  body,  then,  first  of  all,  its  friends  ne.rt,  and 
finally  if s  spiritual  dispositions,  MUST  be  the  supremely  in- 
'eresting  OBJECTS  for  each  human  mind,.  Each  mind,  to 
begin  with,  must  have  a  certain  minimum  of  selfishness  in 
the  shape  of  instincts  of  bodily  self-seeking  in  order  to  exist. 
This  minimum  must  be  there  as  a  basis  for  all  farther  con 
scious  acts,  whether  of  self-negation  or  of  a  selfishness 


824  PSYCHOLOGY. 

more  subtle  still.  All  minds  must  have  come,  by  the  way 
of  the  survival  of  the  fittest,  if  by  no  directer  path,  to  take 
an  intense  interest  in  the  bodies  to  which  they  are  yoked, 
altogether  apart  from  any  interest  in  the  pure  Ego  which 
they  also  possess. 

And  similarly  with  the  images  of  their  person  in  the 
minds  of  others.  I  should  not  be  extant  now  had  I  not  be 
come  sensitive  to  looks  of  approval  or  disapproval  on  the 
faces  among  which  my  life  is  cast.  Looks  of  contempt  cast 
on  other  persons  need  affect  me  in  no  such  peculiar  way. 
Were  my  mental  life  dependent  exclusively  on  some  other 
person's  welfare,  either  directly  or  in  an  indirect  way,  then 
natural  selection  would  unquestionably  have  brought  it 
about  that  I  should  be  as  sensitive  to  the  social  vicissitudes 
of  that  other  person  as  I  now  am  to  my  own.  Instead  of 
being  egoistic  I  should  be  spontaneously  altruistic,  then. 
But  in  this  case,  only  partially  realized  in  actual  human 
conditions,  though  the  self  I  empirically  love  would  have 
changed,  my  pure  Ego  or  Thinker  would  have  to  remain 
just  what  it  is  now. 

My  spiritual  powers,  again,  must  interest  me  more  than 
those  of  other  people,  and  for  the  same  reason.  I  should 
not  be  here  at  all  unless  I  had  cultivated  them  and  kept 
them  from  decay.  And  the  same  law  which  made  me  once 
care  for  them  makes  me  care  for  them  still. 

My  own  body  and  what  ministers  to  its  needs  are  thus  the 
primitive  object,  instinctively  deter  mined,  of  my  egoistic  interests. 
Other  objects  may  become  interesting  derivatively  through 
association  with  any  of  these  things,  either  as  means  or  as 
habitual  concomitants ;  and  so  in  a  thousand  ways  the  primi 
tive  sphere  of  the  egoistic  emotions  may  enlarge  and  change 
its  boundaries. 

This  sort  of  interest  is  really  the  meaning  of  tJie  tvord 
'my.'  Whatever  has  it  is  eo  ipso  a  part  of  me.  My  child, 
my  friend  dies,  and  where  he  goes  I  feel  that  part  of  my* 
self  now  is  and  evermore  shall  be  : 

"  For  this  losing  is  true  dying  ; 
This  is  lordly  man's  down-lying ; 
This  his  slow  but  sure  reclining, 
Star  by  star  his  world  resigning." 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  325 

The  fact  remains,  however,  that  certain  special  sorts  of 
thing  tend  primordially  to  possess  this  interest,  and  form 
the  natural  me.  But  all  these  things  are  objects,  properly 
so  called,  to  the  subject  which  does  the  thinking.*  And 
this  latter  fact  upsets  at  once  the  dictum  of  the  old-fash 
ioned  sensationalist  psychology,  that  altruistic  passions 
and  interests  are  contradictory  to  the  nature  of  things,  and 
that  if  they  appear  anywhere  to  exist,  it  must  be  as  second 
ary  products,  resolvable  at  bottom  into  cases  of  selfishness, 
taught  by  experience  a  hypocritical  disguise.  If  the  zoolog 
ical  and  evolutionary  point  of  view  is  the  true  one,  there  is 
uo  reason  why  any  object  whatever  might  not  arouse  passion 
and  interest  as  primitively  and  instinctively  as  any  other, 
whether  connected  or  not  with  the  interests  of  the  me. 
The  phenomenon  of  passion  is  in  origin  and  essence  the 
same,  whatever  be  the  target  upon  which  it  is  discharged ; 
and  what  the  target  actually  happens  to  be  is  solely  a  ques 
tion  of  fact.  I  might  conceivably  be  as  much  fascinated, 
and  as  primitively  so,  by  the  care  of  my  neighbor's  body 
as  by  the  care  of  my  own.  The  only  check  to  such  exuber 
ant  altruistic  interests  is  natural  selection,  which  would 
weed  out  such  as  Avere  very  harmful  to  the  individual  or  to 
his  tribe.  Many  such  interests,  however,  remain  unweeded 
out — the  interest  in  the  opposite  sex,  for  example,  which 
seems  in  mankind  stronger  than  is  called  for  by  its  utili 
tarian  need ;  and  alongside  of  them  remain  interests,  like 
that  in  alcoholic  intoxication,  or  in  musical  sounds,  which, 
for  aught  we  can  see,  are  without  any  utility  whatever. 
The  sympathetic  instincts  and  the  egoistic  ones  are  thus 
co-ordinate.  They  arise,  so  far  as  we  can  tell,  on  the  same 
psychologic  level.  The  only  difference  between  them  is, 
that  the  instincts  called  egoistic  form  much  the  larger  mass. 

The  only  author  whom  I  know  to  have  discussed  the 
question  whether  the  '  pure  Ego,'  per  se,  can  be  an  object 
of  regard,  is  Herr  Horwicz,  in  his  extremely  able  and  acute 
Psychologische  Analysen.  He  too  says  that  all  self-regard 
is  regard  for  certain  objective  things.  He  disposes  so  well 


*  Lotze,  Med.  Psych.  498-501  ;  Microcosmos,  bk.  n.  chap.  v.  §§  3,  4 


326  PSYCHOLOGY. 

of  one  kind  of  objection  that  I  must  conclude  by  quoting  a 
part  of  his  own  words : 
First,  the  objection  : 

"  The  fact  is  indubitable  that  one's  own  children  always  pass  for 
the  prettiest  and  brightest,  the  wine  from  one's  own  cellar  for  the  best 
— at  least  for  its  price, — one's  own  house  and  horses  for  the  finest. 
With  what  tender  admiration  do  we  con  over  our  own  little  deed  of 
Denevolence  !  our  own  frailties  and  misdemeanors,  how  ready  we  are  to 
acquit  ourselves  for  them,  when  we  notice  them  at  all,  on  the  ground  of 
*  extenuating  circumstances '  !  How  much  more  really  comic  are  our 
own  jokes  than  those  of  others,  which,  unlike  ours,  will  not  bear  being 
repeated  ten  or  twelve  times  over  !  How  eloquent,  striking,  powerful, 
our  own  speeches  are  !  How  appropriate  our  own  address  !  In  short, 
how  much  more  intelligent,  soulful,  better,  is  everything  about  us  than 
in  anyone  else.  The  sad  chapter  of  artists'  and  authors'  conceit  and 
vanity  belongs  here. 

''The  prevalence  of  this  obvious  preference  which  we  feel  for  every 
thing  of  our  own  is  indeed  striking.  Does  it  not  look  as  if  our  dear  Ego 
must  first  lend  its  color  and  flavor  to  anything  in  order  to  make  it  please 
us  ?  ...  Is  it  not  the  simplest  explanation  for  all  these  phenomena,  so 
consistent  among  themselves,  to  suppose  that  the  Ego,  the  self,  which 
forms  the  origin  and  centre  of  our  thinking  life,  is  at  the  same  time  the 
original  and  central  object  of  our  life  of  feeling,  and  the  ground  both 
of  whatever  special  ideas  and  of  whatever  special  feelings  ensue  ?" 

Herr  Horwicz  goes  on  to  refer  to  what  we  have  already 
noticed,  that  various  things  which  disgust  us  in  others  do 
not  disgust  us  at  all  in  ourselves. 

"  To  most  of  us  even  the  bodily  warmth  of  another,  for  example  the 
chair  warm  from  another's  sitting,  is  felt  unpleasantly,  whereas  there 
is  nothing  disagreeable  in  the  warmth  of  the  chair  in  which  we  have 
been  sitting  ourselves." 

After  some  further  remarks,  he  replies  to  these  facts 
and  reasonings  as  follows  : 

"We  may  with  confidence  affirm  that  our  own  possessions  in  most 
cases  please  us  better  [not  because  they  are  ours],  but  simply  because  we 
know  them  better,  'realize'  them  more  intimately,  feel  them  more 
deeply.  We  learn  to  appreciate  what  is  ours  in  all  its  details  and  shad- 
ings,  whilst  the  goods  of  others  appear  to  us  in  coarse  outlines  and  rude 
averages.  Here  are  some  examples:  A  piece  of  music  which  one  plays 
one's  self  is  heard  and  understood  better  than  when  it  is  played  by  an 
other.  We  get  more  exactly  all  the  details,  penetrate  more  deeply  into 
the  musical  thought.  We  may  meanwhile  perceive  perfectly  well  that 
the  other  person  is  the  better  performer,  and  yet  nevertheless — at  times 
—get  more  enjoyment  from  our  own  playing  because  it  brings  the 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  327 

melody  and  harmony  so  much  nearer  home  to  us.  This  case  may  almost 
be  taken  as  typical  for  the  other  cases  of  self-love.  On  close  examina 
tion,  we  shall  almost  always  find  that  a  great  part  of  our  feeling  about 
what  is  ours  is  due  to  the  fact  that  we  live  closer  to  our  own  things,  and 
so  feel  them  more  thoroughly  and  deeply.  As  a  friend  of  mine  was 
about  to  marry,  he  often  bored  me  by  the  repeated  and  minute  way  in 
which  he  would  discuss  the  details  of  his  new  household  arrangements. 
I  wondered  that  so  intellectual  a  man  should  be  so  deeply  interested  in 
things  of  so  external  a  nature.  But  as  I  entered,  a  few  years  later,  the 
same  condition  myself,  these  matters  acquired  for  me  an  entirely  differ 
ent  interest,  and  it  became  my  turn  to  turn  them  over  and  talk  of  them 
unceasingly.  .  .  .  The  reason  was  simply  this,  that  in  the  first  instance 
I  understood  nothing  of  these  things  and  their  importance  for  domestic 
comfort,  whilst  in  the  latter  case  they  came  home  to  me  with  irresistible 
urgency,  and  vividly  took  possession  of  my  fancy.  So  it  is  with  many 
a  one  who  mocks  at  decorations  and  titles,  until  he  gains  one  himself. 
And  this  is  also  surely  the  reason  why  one's  own  portrait  or  reflection  in 
the  mirror  is  so  peculiarly  interesting  a  thing  to  contemplate  .  .  .  not  on 
account  of  any  absolute  '  c'est  moi,"1  but  just  as  with  the  music  played 
by  ourselves.  What  greets  our  eyes  is  what  we  know  best,  most  deeply 
understand;  because  we  ourselves  have  felt  it  and  lived  through  it.  We 
know  what  has  ploughed  these  furrows,  deepened  these  shadows, 
blanched  this  hair  ;  and  other  faces  may  be  handsomer,  but  none  can 
speak  to  us  or  interest  us  like  this."  * 

Moreover,  this  author  goes  on  to  show  that  our  own 
things  are  fuller  for  us  than  those  of  others  because  of  the 
memories  they  aAvaken  and  the  practical  hopes  and  expecta 
tions  they  arouse.  This  alone  would  emphasize  them,  apart 
from  any  value  derived  from  their  belonging  to  ourselves. 
We  may  conclude  with  him,  then,  that  an  original  central 
self -feeling  can  never  explain  the  passionate  warmth  of  our  self- 
regarding  emotions,  ivhich  must,  on  the  contrary,  be  addressed 
directly  to  special  things  less  abstract  and  empty  of  content.  To 
these  things  the  name  of  '  self '  may  be  given,  or  to  our  conduct 
towards  them  the,  name,  of  '  selfishness,'  Imt  neither  in  the  self 
nor  the  selfishness  does  the  pure  Thinker  play  the  'title-role.' 

Only  one  more  point  connected  with  our  self-regard  need 
be  mentioned.  We  have  spoken  of  it  so  far  as  active  in~ 
stinct  or  emotion.  It  remains  to  speak  of  it  as  cold  intel 
lectual  self-estimation.  We  may  weigh  our  own  Me  in  the» 

*  Psychologische  Analysen  auf  Physiologischer  Grundlage.  Theil  n. 
lite  Hillfte,  §  11.  The  whole  section  ought  to  be  read. 


328  PSYCHOLOGY. 

balance  of  praise  and  blame  as  easily  as  we  weigh  other 
people, — though  with  difficulty  quite  as  fairly.  The  just 
man  is  the  one  who  can  weigh  himself  impartially.  Impar- 
tial  weighing  presupposes  a  rare  faculty  of  abstraction  from 
the  vividness  with  which,  as  Herr  Horwicz  has  pointed  out, 
things  known  as  intimately  as  our  own  possessions  and 
performances  appeal  to  our  imagination ;  and  an  equally 
rare  power  of  vividly  representing  the  affairs  of  others.  But> 
granting  these  rare  powers,  there  is  no  reason  why  a  man 
should  not  pass  judgment  on  himself  quite  as  objectively 
and  well  as  on  anyone  else.  No  matter  how  he  feels  about 
himself,  unduly  elated  or  unduly  depressed,  he  may  still 
truly  know  his  own  worth  by  measuring  it  by  the  outward 
standard  he  applies  to  other  men,  and  counteract  the  injus 
tice  of  the  feeling  he  cannot  wholly  escape.  This  self- 
measuring  process  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  instinctive 
self-regard  we  have  hitherto  been  dealing  with.  Being 
merely  ono  application  of  intellectual  comparison,  it  need 
no  longer  detain  us  here.  Please  note  again,  however,  how 
the  pure  Ego  appears  merely  as  the  vehicle  in  which  the 
estimation  is  carried  on,  the  objects  estimated  being  all  of 
them  facts  of  an  empirical  sort,  *  one's  body,  one's  credit, 

*  Professor  Bain,  in  his  chapter  on  'Emotions  of  Self,'  does  scant  jus 
tice  to  the  primitive  nature  of  a  large  part  of  our  self-feeling,  and  seems  to 
reduce  it  to  reflective  self-estimation  of  this  sober  intellectual  sort,  which 
certainly  most  of  it  is  not.  He  says  that  when  the  attention  is  turned 
inward  upon  self  as  a  Personality,  "  we  are  putting  forth  to  wards  ourselves 
the  kind  of  exercise  that  properly  accompanies  our  contemplation  of  other 
persons.  We  are  accustomed  to  scrutinize  the  actions  and  conduct  of  those 
about  us,  to  set  a  higher  value  upon  one  man  than  upon  another,  by  com 
paring  the  two;  to  pity  ono  in  distress;  to  feel  complacency  towards  a  par 
ticular  individual;  to  congratulate  a  man  on  some  good  fortune  that  it 
pleases  us  to  see  him  gain;  to  admire  greatness  or  excellence  as  displayed 
*>y  any  of  our  fellows.  All  these  exercises  are  intrinsically  social,  like 
Love  and  Resentment;  an  isolated  individual  could  never  attain  to  them, 
nor  exercise  then.  By  what  means,  then,  through  what  fiction  [!]  can  we 
turn  round  r.nd  play  them  off  upon  self?  Or  how  comes  it  that  we  obtain 
any  satisfaction  Ly  putting  self  in  the  place  of  the  other  party?  Perhaps 
the  simplest  form  of  the  reflected  act  is  that  expressed  by  Self -worth  and 
Self-estimation,  based  and  begun  upon  observation  of  the  ways  and  con 
duct  of  our  fellow-beings.  We  soon  make  comparisons  among  the  indi 
viduals  about  us;  we  see  that  one  is  stronger  and  does  more  work  than 
another,  and,  in  consequence  perhaps,  receives  more  pay.  We  see  one 
putting  forth  perhaps  more  kindness  than  another,  and  in  consequence 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF. 


329 


one's   fame,  one's   intellectual   ability,  one's  goodness,  or 
whatever  the  case  may  be. 


The  empirical  Life  of  Self  is  divided,  as  below,  into 


MATERIAL. 

SOCIAL. 

SPIRITUAL. 

SELF- 
SEEKING. 

Bodily       Appetites 
and  Instincts 
Love      of      Adorn 
ment,      Foppery, 
Acquisitiveness, 
Constructiveness, 
Love  of  Home,  etc. 

Desire  to  please,  be 
noticed,  admired, 
etc. 
Sociability,   Emula 
tion,  Envy,  Love, 
Pursuit  of  Honor, 
Ambition,  etc. 

Intellectual,  Moral 
and  Religious 
Aspiration,  Con 
scientiousness 

SELF- 
ESTIMATION. 

Personal       Vanity, 
Modesty,  etc. 
Pride    of    Wealth, 
Fear  of  Poverty 

Social  and  Family 
Pride,  Vainglory, 
Snobbery,  Humil 
ity,  Shame,  etc. 

Sense  of    Moral   or 
Mental    Superior 
ity,  Purity,  etc. 
Sense  of  Inferiority 
or  of  Guilt 

THE  PURE  EGO. 

Having  summed  up  in  the  above  table   the  principal 
results  of  the  chapter  thus  far,  I  have  said  all  that  need 

receiving  more  love.  We  see  some  individuals  surpassing  the  rest  in  aston 
ishing  feats,  and  drawing  after  them  the  gaze  and  admiration  of  a  crowd. 
We  acquire  a  series  of  fixed  associations  towards  persons  so  situated;  favor 
able  in  the  case  of  the  superior,  and  unfavorable  to  the  inferior.  To  the 
strong  and  laborious  man  we  attach  an  estimate  of  greater  reward,  and  feel 
that  to  be  in  his  place  would  be  a  hap  pier  lot  than  falls  to  others.  Desiring, 
as  we  do,  from  the  primary  motives  of  our  being,  to  possess  good  things, 
and  observing  these  to  come  by  a  man's  superior  exertions,  we  feel  a  respect 
for  such  exertion  and  a  wish  that  it  might  be  ours.  We  know  that  we  also 
put  forth  exertions  for  our  share  uf  good  things;  and  on  witnessing  others, 
we  are  apt  to  be  reminded  of  ourselves  and  to  make  comparisons  with  our 
selves,  which  comparisons  derive  their  interest  from  the  substantial  conse 
quences.  Having  thus  once  learned  to  look  at  other  persons  as  per- 
iOrming  labors,  greater  or  less,  and  as  realizing  fruits  to  accord;  being, 
moreover,  in  all  respects  like  our  fellows, — we  find  it  an  exercise  neither 
difficult  nor  unmeaning  to  contemplate  self  as  doing  work  and  receiving 
the  reward.  ...  As  we  decide  between  one  man  and  another, — which  is 
worthier,  ...  so  we  decide  between  self  and  all  other  men;  being,  how 
ever,  in  this  decision  under  the  bias  of  our  own  desires."  A  couple  of  pages 
farther  on  we  read:  "By  the  terms  Self-complacency.  Self-gratulation,  is 
indicated  a  positive  enjoyment  in  dwelling  upon  our  own  merits  and 
belongings.  As  in  other  modes,  so  here,  the  starting  point  is  the  contem 
plation  of  excellence  or  pleasing  qualities  in  another  person,  accompanied 
more  or  less  with  fondness  or  love."  Self-pity  is  also  regarded  by  Professor 


330  PSYCHOLOGY. 

be  said  of  the  constituents  of  the  phenomenal  self,  and 
of  the  nature  of  self-regard.  Our  decks  are  consequently 
sleared  for  the  struggle  with  that  pure  principle  of  personal 
identity  which  has  met  us  all  along  our  preliminary  expo 
sition,  but  which  we  have  always  shied  from  and  treated  as 
a  difficulty  to  be  postponed.  Ever  since  Hume's  time,  it 
has  been  justly  regarded  as  the  most  puzzling  puzzle  with 
which  psychology  has  to  deal ;  and  whatever  view  one  may 
espouse,  one  has  to  hold  his  position  against  heavy  odds. 
If,  with  the  Spiritualists,  one  contend  for  a  substantial  soul, 
or  transcendental  principle  of  unity,  one  can  give  no  positive 
account  of  what  that  may  be.  And  if,  with  the  Humians, 
one  deny  such  a  principle  and  say  that  the  stream  of  pass- 
ing  thoughts  is  all,  one  runs  against  the  entire  common- 
sense  of  mankind,  of  which  the  belief  in  a  distinct  principle 
of  selfhood  seems  an  integral  part.  Whatever  solution  be 
adopted  in  the  pages  to  come,  we  may  as  well  make  up  our 
minds  in  advance  that  it  will  fail  to  satisfy  the  majority  of 
those  to  whom  it  is  addressed.  The  best  way  of  approach- 
ing  the  matter  will  be  to  take  up  first — 

The  Sense  of  Personal  Identity. 

In  the  last  chapter  it  was  stated  in  as  radical  a  way  as 
possible  that  the  thoughts  which  we  actually  know  to  exist 
do  not  fly  about  loose,  but  seem  each  to  belong  to  some  one 


Bain,  in  this  place,  as  an  emotion  diverted  to  ourselves  from  a  more  im 
mediate  object,  "in  a  manner  that  we  may  term  fictitious  and  unreal. 
Still,  as  we  can  view  self  in  the  light  of  another  person,  we  can  feel  towards 
it  the  emotion  of  pity  called  forth  by  others  in  our  situation." 

This  account  of  Prof essor  Bain's  is,  it  will  be  observed,  a  good  specimen 
of  the  old-fashioned  mode  of  explaining  the  several  emotions  as  rapid  cal 
culations  of  results,  and  the  transfer  of  feeling  from  one  object  to  another, 
associated  by  contiguity  or  similarity  with  the  first.  Zoological  evolu 
tionism,  which  came  up  since  Prof  essor  Bain  first  wrote,  has  made  us  see,  on 
the  contrary,  that  many  emotions  must  be  primitively  aroused  by  special 
objects.  None  are  more  worthy  of  being  ranked  primitive  than  the  self- 
gratulation  and  humiliation  attendant  on  our  own  successes  and  failures  in 
the  main  functions  of  life.  We  need  no  borrowed  reflection  for  these  feel 
ings.  Professor  Bain's  account  applies  to  but  that  small  fraction  of  our 
self-feeling  which  reflective  criticism  can  add  to,  or  subtract  from,  the 
total  mass.— Lotze  has  some  pages  on  the  modifications  of  our  self-regard 
by  universal  judgments,  in  Microcosmus,  book  v.  chap,  v  §  5. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  331 

thinker  and  not  to  another.  Each  thought,  out  of  a  multi 
tude  of  other  thoughts  of  -which  it  may  think,  is  able  to 
distinguish  those  which  belong  to  its  own  Ego  from  those 
which  do  not.  The  former  have  a  warmth  and  intimacy 
about  them  of  which  the  latter  are  completely  devoid,  being 
merely  conceived,  in  a  cold  and  foreign  fashion,  and  not 
appearing  as  blood-relatives,  bringing  their  greetings  to  us 
from  out  of  the  past. 

Now  this  consciousness  of  personal  sameness  may  be 
treated  either  as  a  subjective  phenomenon  or  as  an  objec 
tive  deliverance,  as  a  feeling,  or  as  a  truth.  We  may  ex 
plain  how  one  bit  of  thought  can  come  to  judge  other  bits 
to  belong  to  the  same  Ego  with  itself ;  or  we  may  criticise 
its  judgment  and  decide  how  far  it  may  tally  with  the 
nature  of  things. 

As  a  mere  subjective  phenomenon  the  judgment  presents 
no  difficulty  or  mystery  peculiar  to  itself.  It  belongs  to 
the  great  class  of  judgments  of  sameness;  and  there  is 
nothing  more  remarkable  in  making  a  judgment  of  same 
ness  in  the  first  person  than  in  the  second  or  the  third. 
The  intellectual  operations  seem  essentially  alike,  whether 
I  say  "I  am  the  same,'  or  whether  I  say  'the  pen  is  the 
same,  as  yesterday.'  It  is  as  easy  to  think  this  as  to  think 
the  opposite  and  say  'neither  I  nor  the  pen  is  the  same.' 

This  sort  of  bringing  of  tldngs  together  into  the  object  of  a 
single  judgment  is  of  course  essential  to  all  thinking.  The 
things  are  conjoined  in  the  thought,  whatever  may  be  the 
relation  in  which  they  appear  to  the  thought.  The  thinking 
them  is  thinking  them  together,  even  if  only  with  the  result 
of  judging  that  they  do  not  belong  together.  This  sort  of 
subjective  synthesis,,  essential  to  knowledge  as  siich  (when 
ever  it  has  a  complex  object),  must  not  be  confounded  with 
objective  synthesis  or  union  instead  of  difference  or  discon 
nection,  known  among  the  things.*  The  subjective  syn- 


*  "Also  nur  dadurch,  dass  ich  em  Maunigfaltiges  gegebeuer  Vorstel- 
lungeu  iu  einem  Bewusstsein  verbinden  kann,  ist  es  moglich  dass  ich  die 
Identittit  des  Bewusstseins  in  diesen  Vorstellungen  selbst  vorstelle,  d.  h.  die 
analytische  Einheit  der  Apperception  ist  nur  unter  der  Voraussetzung  irgend 
eiuer  synthetischen  m5glich."  In  this  passage  (Kritik  der  reineu  Ver- 
uunft,  2te  Anil.  §  16)  Kant  calls  by  the  names  of  analytic  and  synthetic 


332  PSYCHOLOGY. 

thesis  is  involved  in  thought's  mere  existence.  Even  a 
really  disconnected  world  could  only  be  known  to  be  such 
by  having  its  parts  temporarily  united  in  the  Object  of  some 
pulse  of  consciousness.* 

The  sense  of  personal  identity  is  not,  then,  this  mere 
synthetic  form  essential  to  all  thought.  It  is  the  sense  of  a 
sameness  perceived  by  thought  and  predicated  of  things 
thought-about.  These  things  are  a  present  self  and  a  self 
of  yesterday.  The  thought  not  only  thinks  them  both,  but 
thinks  that  they  are  identical.  The  psychologist,  looking  on 
and  playing  the  critic,  might  prove  the  thought  wrong,  and 
show  there  was  no  real  identity, — there  might  have  been  no 
yesterday,  or,  at  any  rate,  no  self  of  yesterday ;  or,  if  there 
were,  the  sameness  predicated  might  not  obtain,  or  might 
be  predicated  on  insufficient  grounds.  In  either  case  the 
personal  identity  would  not  exist  as  a  fact;  but  it  would 
exist  as  a  feeling  all  the  same ;  the  consciousness  of  it  by 
the  thought  would  be  there,  and  the  psychologist  would 
still  have  to  analyze  that,  and  show  where  its  illusoriness 
lay.  Let  us  now  be  the  psychologist  and  see  whether  it  be 
right  or  wrong  when  it  says,  /  am  the  same  self  that  I  was 
yesterday. 

We  may  immediately  call  it  right  and  intelligible  so  fai 
as  it  posits  a  past  time  with  past  thoughts  or  selves  con 
tained  therein — these  were  data  which  we  assumed  at  the 
outset  of  the  book.  Right  also  and  intelligible  so  far  as  it 
thinks  of  a  present  self — that  present  self  we  have  just 
studied  in  its  various  forms.  The  only  question  for  us  is 
as  to  what  the  consciousness  may  mean  when  it  calls  the 

apperception  what  we  here  mean  by  objective  and  subjective  synthesis 
respectively.  It  were  much  to  be  desired  that  some  one  might  invent  a 
good  pair  of  terms  in  which  to  record  the  distinction — those  used  in  the 
text  are  certainly  very  bad,  but  Kant's  seem  to  me  still  worse.  '  Categorical 
unity'  and  'transcendental  synthesis'  would  also  be  good  Kantian,  but 
hardly  good  human,  speech. 

*  So  that  we  might  say,  by  a  sort  of  bad  pun,  "only  a  connected  world 
can  be  known  as  disconnected."  I  say  bad  pun,  because  the  point  of  view 
shifts  between  the  connectedness  and  the  disconnectedness.  The  discon 
nectedness  is  of  the  realities  known  ;  the  connectedness  is  of  the  knowl 
edge  of  them  ;  and  reality  and  knowledge  of  it  are,  from  the  psychological 
point  of  view  held  fast  to  in  these  pages,  two  different  facts. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  333 

present  self  the  same  with  one  of  the  past  selves  which  it 
has  in  mind. 

We  spoke  a  moment  since  of  warmth  and  intimacy. 
This  leads  us  to  the  answer  sought.  For,  whatever  the 
thought  we  are  criticising  may  think  about  its  present  self, 
that  self  comes  to  its  acquaintance,  or  is  actually  felt,  with 
warmth  and  intimacy.  Of  course  this  is  the  case  with  the 
bodily  part  of  it ;  we  feel  the  whole  cubic  mass  of  our  body 
all  the  while,  it  gives  us  an  unceasing  sense  of  personal 
existence.  Equally  do  we  feel  the  inner  '  nucleus  of  the 
spiritual  self,'  either  in  the  shape  of  yon  faint  physiological 
adjustments,  or  (adopting  the  universal  psychological  be 
lief),  in  that  of  the  pure  activity  of  our  thought  taking 
place  as  such.  Our  remoter  spiritual,  material,  and  social 
selves,  so  far  as  they  are  realized,  come  also  with  a  glow 
and  a  warmth ;  for  the  thought  of  them  infallibly  brings 
some  degree  of  organic  emotion  in  the  shape  of  quickened 
heart-beats,  oppressed  breathing,  or  some  other  alteration, 
even  though  it  be  a  slight  one,  in  the  general  bodily  tone. 
The  character  of  '  warmth,'  then,  in  the  present  self,  re 
duces  itself  to  either  of  two  things, — something  in  the  feel 
ing  which  we  have  of  the  thought  itself,  as  thinking,  or  else 
the  feeling  of  the  body's  actual  existence  at  the  moment, — 
or  finally  to  both.  "We  cannot  realize  our  present  self  with 
out  simultaneously  feeling  one  or  other  of  these  two  things. 
Any  other  fact  which  brings  these  two  things  with  it  into 
consciousness  will  be  thought  with  a  warmth  and  an  inti 
macy  like  those  which  cling  to  the  present  self. 

Any  distant  self  which  fulfils  this  condition  will  be 
thought  with  such  warmth  and  intimacy.  But  which 
distant  selves  do  fulfil  the  condition,  when  represented? 

Obviously  those,  and  only  those,  which  fulfilled  it  when 
they  were  alive.  Them  we  shall  imagine  with  the  animal 
warmth  upon  them,  to  them  may  possibly  cling  the  aroma, 
the  echo  of  the  thinking  taken  in  the  act.  And  by  a  natural 
consequence,  we  shall  assimilate  them  to  each  other  and 
to  the  warm  and  intimate  self  we  now  feel  within  us  as  we 
think,  and  separate  them  as  a  collection  from  whatever 
selves  have  not  this  mark,  much  as  out  of  a  herd  of  cattle 
let  loose  for  the  winter  on  some  wide  western  prairie  the 


334  PSYCHOLOGY. 

owner  picks  out  and  sorts  together  when  the  time  for  the 
round-up  comes  in  the  spring,  all  the  beasts  on  which  he 
finds  his  own  particular  brand. 

The  various  members  of  the  collection  thus  set  apart 
are  felt  to  belong  with  each  other  whenever  they  are 
thought  at  all.  The  animal  warmth,  etc.,  is  their  herd-mark, 
the  brand  from  which  they  can  never  more  escape.  It 
runs  through  them  all  like  a  thread  through  a  chaplet  and 
makes  them  into  a  whole,  which  we  treat  as  a  unit,  no 
matter  how  much  in  other  ways  the  parts  may  differ  inter 
se.  Add  to  this  character  the  farther  one  that  the  distant 
selves  appear  to  our  thought  as  having  for  hours  of  time 
been  continuous  with  each  other,  and  the  most  recent  ones 
of  them  continuous  with  the  Self  of  the  present  moment, 
melting  into  it  by  slow  degrees ;  and  we  get  a  still  stronger 
bond  of  union.  As  we  think  we  see  an  identical  bodily 
thing  when,  in  spite  of  changes  of  structure,  it  exists  con 
tinuously  before  our  eyes,  or  when,  however  interrupted  its 
presence,  its  quality  returns  unchanged ;  so  here  we  think 
we  experience  an  identical  Self  when  it  appears  to  us  in  an 
analogous  way.  Continuity  makes  us  unite  what  dissimi 
larity  might  otherwise  separate  ;  similarity  makes  us  unite 
what  discontinuity  might  hold  apart.  And  thus  it  is, 
finally,  that  Peter,  awakening  in  the  same  bed  with  Paul, 
and  recalling  what  both  had  in  mind  before  they  went  to 
sleep,  reidentifies  and  appropriates  the  '  warm '  ideas  as  his, 
and  is  never  tempted  to  confuse  them  with  those  cold  and 
pale-appearing  ones  which  he  ascribes  to  Paul.  As  well 
might  he  confound  Paul's  body,  which  he  only  sees,  with 
his  own  body,  which  he  sees  but  also  feels.  Each  of  us 
when  he  awakens  says,  Here's  the  same  old  self  again,  just 
as  he  says,  Here's  the  same  old  bed,  the  same  old  room,  the 
came  old  world. 

The  sense  of  our  own  personal  identity,  then,  is  exactly  like- 
any  one  of  our  other  perceptions  of  sameness  among  phenomena. 
It  is  a  conclusion  grounded  either  on  the  resemblance  in  a  funda 
mental  respect,  or  on  the  continuity  before  the  mind,  of  the  phe 
nomena  compared. 

And  it  must  not  be  taken  to  mean  more  than  these 
grounds  warrant,  or  treated  as  a  sort  of  metaphysical  or 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  335 

absolute  Unity  in  which  all  differences  are  overwhelmed. 
The  past  aiid  present  selves  compared  are  the  same  just  so 
far  as  they  are  the  same,  and  no  farther.  A  uniform  feeling 
of  *  warmth,'  of  bodily  existence  (or  an  equally  uniform  feel 
ing  of  pure  psychic  energy?)  pervades  them  all ;  and  this  is 
what  gives  them  a  generic  unity,  and  makes  them  the  same 
in  kind.  But  this  generic  unity  coexists  with  generic  differ 
ences  just  as  real  as  the  unity.  And  if  from  the  one  point 
of  view  they  are  one  self,  from  others  they  are  as  truly 
not  one  but  many  selves.  And  similarly  of  the  attribute  of 
continuity  ;  it  gives  its  own  kind  of  unity  to  the  self — that 
of  mere  connectedness,  or  unbrokenness,  a  perfectly  definite 
phenomenal  thing — but  it  gives  not  a  jot  or  tittle  more. 
And  this  unbrokenness  in  the  stream  of  selves,  like  the 
uubrokeuness  in  an  exhibition  of  '  dissolving  views,'  in  no 
wise  implies  any  farther  unity  or  contradicts  any  amount 
of  plurality  in  other  respects. 

And  accordingly  we  find  that,  where  the  resemblance  and 
the  continuity  are  no  longer  felt,  the  sense  of  personal  iden 
tity  goes  too.  We  hear  from  our  parents  various  anecdotes 
about  our  infant  years,  but  we  do  not  appropriate  them  as 
W3  do  our  own  memories.  Those  breaches  of  decorum 
awaken  no  blush,  those  bright  sayings  no  self-complacency. 
That  child  is  a  foreign  creature  with  which  our  present 
self  is  no  more  identified  in  feeling  than  it  is  with  some 
stranger's  living  child  to-day.  Why  ?  Partly  because 
great  time-gaps  break  up  all  these  early  years — we  cannot 
ascend  to  them  by  continuous  memories ;  and  partly  be 
cause  no  representation  of  how  the  child  felt  comes  up  with 
the  stories.  We  know  what  he  said  and  did  ;  but  no  senti 
ment  of  his  little  body,  of  his  emotions,  of  his  psychic  striv 
ings  as  they  felt  to  him.,  comes  up  to  contribute  an  element 
of  warmth  and  intimacy  to  the  narrative  we  hear,  and  the 
main  bond  of  union  with  our  present  self  thus  disappears. 
ft  is  the  same  with  certain  of  our  dimly-recollected  experi 
ences.  We  hardly  know  whether  to  appropriate  them  or 
to  disown  them  as  fancies,  or  things  read  or  heard  and  not 
lived  through.  Their  animal  heat  has  evaporated  ;  the  feel 
ings  that  accompanied  them  are  so  lacking  in  the  recall,  or 


336  PSYCHOLOGY. 

so  different  from  those  we  now  enjoy,  that  no  judgment  of 
identity  can  be  decisively  cast. 

Resemblance  among  tike  parts  of  a  continuum  of  feelings 
(especially  bodily  feelings)  experienced  along  with  things 
widely  different  in  all  other  regards,  thus  constitutes  the  real 
and  verifiable  'personal  identity '  ivhich  ice  feel.  There  is 
no  other  identity  than  this  in  the  '  stream '  of  subjective 
consciousness  which  we  described  in  the  last  chapter.  Its 
parts  differ,  but  under  all  their  differences  they  are  knit 
in  these  two  ways  ;  and  if  either  way  of  knitting  disappears, 
the  sense  of  unity  departs.  If  a  man  wakes  up  some  fine 
day  unable  to  recall  any  of  his  past  experiences,  so  that 
he  has  to  learn  his  biography  afresh,  or  if  he  only  recalls 
the  facts  of  it  in  a  cold  abstract  way  as  things  that  he  is  sure 
once  happened ;  or  if,  without  this  loss  of  memory,  his 
bodily  and  spiritual  habits  all  change  during  the  night,  each 
organ  giving  a  different  tone,  and  the  act  of  thought  becom 
ing  aware  of  itself  in  a  different  way ;  lie  feels,  and  he  says, 
that  he  is  a  changed  person.  He  disowns  his  former  me, 
gives  himself  a  new  name,  identifies  his  present  life  with 
nothing  from  out  of  the  older  time.  Such  cases  are  not 
rare  in  mental  pathology  ;  but,  as  we  still  have  some  rea 
soning  to  do,  we  had  better  give  no  concrete  account  of 
them  until  the  end  of  the  chapter. 

This  description  of  personal  identity  will  be  recognized 
by  the  instructed  reader  as  the  ordinary  doctrine  professed 
by  the  empirical  school.  Associationists  in  England  and 
France,  Herbartians  in  Germany,  all  describe  the  Self  as 
an  aggregate  of  which  each  part,  as  to  its  being,  is  a  separate 
fact.  So  far  so  good,  then  ;  thus  much  is  true  whatevei 
farther  things  may  be  true ;  and  it  is  to  the  imperishable 
glory  of  Hume  and  Herbart  and  their  successors  to  have 
taken  so  much  of  the  meaning  of  personal  identity  out  of 
the  clouds  and  made  of  the  Self  an  empirical  and  verifia 
ble  thing. 

But  in  leaving  the  matter  here,  and  saying  that  this  sum 
of  passing  things  is  all,  these  writers  have  neglected  certain 
more  subtle  aspects  of  the  Unity  of  Consciousness,  to  which 
we  next  must  turn. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  33T 

Our  recent  simile  of  the  herd  of  cattle  will  help  us.  It 
will  be  remembered  that  the  beasts  were  brought  together 
into  one  herd  because  their  owner  found  on  each  of  them 
his  brand.  The  '  owner '  symbolizes  here  that  '  section  '  of 
consciousness,  or  pulse  of  thought,  which  we  have  all  along 
represented  as  the  vehicle  of  the  judgment  of  identity  ;  and 
the  ( brand '  symbolizes  the  characters  of  warmth  and  con 
tinuity,  by  reason  of  which  the  judgment  is  made.  There 
is  found  a  seZ/'-brand,  just  as  there  is  found  a  herd-brand. 
Each  brand,  so  far,  is  the  mark,  or  cause  of  our  know 
ing,  that  certain  things  belong-together.  But  if  the  brand 
is  the  ratio  cognoscendi  of  the  belonging,  the  belonging, 
in  the  case  of  the  herd,  is  in  turn  the  ratio  existendi  oi 
the  brand.  No  beast  would  be  so  branded  unless  he  be 
longed  to  the  owner  of  the  herd.  They  are  not  his  because 
they  are  branded ;  they  are  branded  because  they  are  his. 
So  that  it  seems  as  if  our  description  of  the  belonging- 
together  of  the  various  selves,  as  a  belonging-together  which 
is  merely  represented,  in  a  later  pulse  of  thought,  had 
knocked  the  bottom  out  of  the  matter,  and  omitted  the 
most  characteristic  one  of  all  the  features  found  in  the  herd 
— a  feature  which  common-sense  finds  in  the  phenomenon 
of  personal  identity  as  well,  and  for  our  omission  of  which 
she  will  hold  us  to  a  strict  account.  For  common-sense 
insists  that  the  unity  of  all  the  selves  is  not  a  mere  ap 
pearance  of  similarity  or  continuity,  ascertained  after  the 
fact.  She  is  sure  that  it  involves  a  real  belonging  to  a  real 
Owner,  to  a  pure  spiritual  entity  of  some  kind.  Eolation 
to  this  entity  is  what  makes  the  self's  constituents  stick  to 
gether  as  they  do  for  thought.  The  individual  beasts  do 
not  stick  together,  for  all  that  they  wear  the  same  brand, 
Each  wanders  with  whatever  accidental  mates  it  finds.  The 
herd's  unity  is  only  potential,  its  centre  ideal,  like  the 
*  centre  of  gravity '  in  physics,  until  the  herdsman  or  owner 
comes.  He  furnishes  a  real  centre  of  accretion  to  which 
the  beasts  are  driven  and  by  which  they  are  held.  The 
beasts  stick  together  by  sticking  severally  to  him.  Just  so, 
common-sense  insists,  there  must  be  a  real  proprietor  in 
the  case  of  the  selves,  or  else  their  actual  accretion  into  a 
'  personal  consciousness '  would  never  have  taken  place. 


388  PSYCHOLOGY. 

To  the  usual  empiricist  explanation  of  personal  conscious. 
ness  this  is  a  formidable  reproof,  because  all  the  individual 
thoughts  and  feelings  which  have  succeeded  each  other  '  up 
to  date '  are  represented  by  ordinary  Associationism  as  in 
some  inscrutable  way  '  integrating '  or  gumming  themselves 
together  on  their  own  account,  and  thus  fusing  into  a  stream. 
A.11  the  incomprehensibilities  which  in  Chapter  VI  we  saw 
to  attach  to  the  idea  of  things  fusing  without  a  medium 
apply  to  the  empiricist  description  of  personal  identity. 

But  in  our  own  account  the  medium  is  fully  assigned, 
the  herdsman  is  there,  in  the  shape  of  something  not  among 
the  things  collected,  but  superior  to  them  all,  namely,  the 
real,  present  onlooking,  remembering,  'judging  thought' 
or  identifying  '  section '  of  the  stream.  This  is  what  col 
lects, — '  owns  '  some  of  the  past  facts  which  it  surveys,  and 
disowns  the  rest, — and  so  makes  a  unity  that  is  actualized 
and  anchored  and  does  not  merely  float  in  the  blue  air  of 
possibility.  And  the  reality  of  such  pulses  of  thought,  with 
their  function  of  knowing,  it  will  be  remembered  that  we 
did  not  seek  to  deduce  or  explain,  but  simply  assumed  them 
as  the  ultimate  kind  of  fact  that  the  psychologist  must  ad 
mit  to  exist. 

But  this  assumption,  though  it  yields  much,  still  does 
not  yield  all  that  common-sense  demands.  The  unity  into 
which  the  Thought — as  I  shall  for  a  time  proceed  to  call, 
with  a  capital  T,  the  present  mental  state — binds  the  indi 
vidual  past  facts  with  each  other  and  with  itself,  does  not 
exist  until  the  Thought  is  there.  It  is  as  if  wild  cattle  were 
lassoed  by  a  newly-created  settler  and  then  owned  for  the 
first  time.  But  the  essence  of  the  matter  to  common-sense 
is  that  the  past  thoughts  never  were  wild  cattle,  they  were 
always  owned.  The  Thought  does  not  capture  them,  but 
as  soon  as  it  comes  into  existence  it  finds  them  already  its 
own.  How  is  this  possible  unless  the  Thought  have  a 
substantial  identity  with  a  former  owner, — not  a  mere  con 
tinuity  or  a  resemblance,  as  in  our  account,  but  a  real  unity  ? 
Common-sense  in  fact  would  drive  us  to  admit  what  we 
may  for  the  moment  call  an  Arch-Ego,  dominating  the  en 
tire  stream  of  thought  and  all  the  selves  that  may  be 
represented  in  it.  as  the  ever  self- same  and  changeless 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  339 

principle  implied  in  their  union.  The  'Soul'  of  Meta 
physics  and  the  *  Transcendental  Ego'  of  the  Kantian 
Philosophy,  are,  as  we  shall  soon  see,  but  attempts  to  sat 
isfy  this  urgent  demand  of  common-sense.  But,  for  a  time 
at  least,  we  can  still  express  without  any  such  hypotheses 
that  appearance  of  never-lapsing  ownership  for  which  com 
mon-sense  contends. 

For  how  would  it  be  if  the  Thought,  the  present  judg 
ing  Thought,  instead  of  being  in  any  way  substantially  or 
transcendentally  identical  with  the  former  owner  of  the 
past  self,  merely  inherited  his  '  title,'  and  thus  stood  as 
his  legal  representative  now?  It  would  then,  if  its  birth 
coincided  exactly  with  the  death  of  another  owner,  find 
the  past  self  already  its  own  as  soon  as  it  found  it  at  all, 
and  the  past  self  would  thus  never  be  wild,  but  always 
owned,  by  a  title  that  never  lapsed.  We  can  imagine  a 
long  succession  of  herdsmen  coming  rapidly  into  possession 
of  the  same  cattle  by  transmission  of  an  original  title  by 
bequest.  May  not  the  'title'  of  a  collective  self  be  passed 
from  one  Thought  to  another  in  some  analogous  way? 

It  is  a  patent  fact  of  consciousness  that  a  transmission 
like  this  actually  occurs.  Each  pulse  of  cognitive  conscious 
ness,  each  Thought,  dies  away  and  is  replaced  by  another. 
The  other,  among  the  things  it  knows,  knows  its  own  prede 
cessor,  and  finding  it  'warm,'  in  the  way  we  have  de 
scribed,  greets  it,  saying :  "  Thou  art  mine,  and  part  of  the 
same  self  with  me."  Each  later  Thought,  knowing  and  in 
cluding  thus  the  Thoughts  which  went  before,  is  the  final 
receptacle — and  appropriating  them  is  the  final  owner — 
of  all  that  they  contain  and  own.  Each  Thought  is  thus 
born  an  owner,  and  dies  owned,  transmitting  whatever  it 
realized  as  its  Self  to  its  own  later  proprietor.  As  Kant 
says,  it  is  as  if  elastic  balls  were  to  have  not  only  motion 
but  knowledge  of  it,  and  a  first  ball  were  to  transmit  both 
its  motion  and  its  consciousness  to  a  second,  which  took 
both  up  into  its  consciousness  and  passed  them  to  a  third, 
until  the  last  ball  held  all  that  the  other  balls  had  held, 
and  realized  it  as  its  own.  It  is  this  trick  which  the  nas 
cent  thought  has  of  immediately  taking  up  the  expiring 
thought  and  'adopting'  it,  which  is  the  foundation  of  the 


340  PSYCHOLOGY. 

appropriation  of  most  of  the  remoter  constituents  of  the 
self.  Who  owns  the  last  self  owns  the  self  before  the  last, 
for  what  possesses  the  possessor  possesses  the  possessed. 

It  is  impossible  to  discover  any  verifiable  features  in 
personal  identity,  which  this  sketch  does  not  contain,  im 
possible  to  imagine  how  any  transcendent  non-phenomenal 
sort  of  an  Arch-Ego,  were  he  there,  could  shape  matters  to 
any  other  result,  or  be  known  in  time  by  any  other  fruit, 
than  just  this  production  of  a  stream  of  consciousness  each 
'  section '  of  which  should  "know,  and  knowing,  hug  to 
itself  and  adopt,  all  those  that  went  before, — thus  standing 
as  the  representative  of  the  entire  past  stream  ;  and  which 
should  similarly  adopt  the  objects  already  adopted  by 
any  portion  of  this  spiritual  stream.  Such  standing-as- 
representative,  and  such  adopting,  are  perfectly  clear  phe 
nomenal  relations.  The  Thought  which,  whilst  it  knows 
another  Thought  and  the  Object  of  that  Other,  appro 
priates  the  Other  and  the  Object  which  the  Other  appro 
priated,  is  still  a  perfectly  distinct  phenomenon  from  that 
Other ;  it  may  hardly  resemble  it ;  it  may  be  far  removed 
from  it  in  space  and  time. 

The  only  point  that  is  obscure  is  the  act  of  appropria 
tion  itself.  Already  in  enumerating  the  constituents  of  the 
self  and  their  rivalry,  I  had  to  use  the  word  appropriate. 
And  the  quick-witted  reader  probably  noticed  at  the  time, 
in  hearing  how  one  constituent  was  let  drop  and  disowned 
and  another  one  held  fast  to  and  espoused,  that  the  phrase 
was  meaningless  unless  the  constituents  were  objects  in  the 
hands  of  something  else.  A  thing  cannot  appropriate  itself  ; 
it  is  itself  ;  and  still  less  can  it  disown  itself.  There  must 
be  an  agent  of  the  appropriating  and  disowning  ;  but  that 
agent  we  have  already  named.  It  is  the  Thought  to  whom 
the  various  '  constituents  '  are  known.  That  Thought  is  a 
vehicle  of  choice  as  well  as  of  cognition ;  and  among  the 
choices  it  makes  are  these  appropriations,  or  repudiations, 
of  its  '  own.'  But  the  Thought  never  is  an  object  in  its  own 
hands,  it  never  appropriates  or  disowns  itself.  It  appro 
priates  to  itself,  it  is  the  actual  focus  of  accretion,  the  hook 
from  which  the  chain  of  r>ast  selves  dangles,  planted  firmlv 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  341 

in  the  Present,  which  alone  passes  for  real,  and  thus  keep 
ing  the  chain  from  being  a  purely  ideal  thing.  Anon  the 
hook  itself  will  drop  into  the  past  with  all  it  carries,  and 
then  be  treated  as  an  object  and  appropriated  by  a  new 
Thought  in  the  new  present  which  will  serve  as  living 
hook  in  turn.  The  present  moment  of  consciousness  is 
thus,  as  Mr.  Hodgson  says,  the  darkest  in  the  whole  series. 
It  may  feel  its  own  immediate  existence — we  have  all  along 
admitted  the  possibility  of  this,  hard  as  it  is  by  direct  in 
trospection  to  ascertain  the  fact — but  nothing  can  be  known 
about  it  till  it  be  dead  and  gone.  Its  appropriations  are 
therefore  less  to  itself  than  to  the  most  intimately  felt  part 
of  its  present  Object,  the  body,  and  the  central  adjustments, 
which  accompany  the  act  of  thinking,  in  the  head.  These 
are  the  real  nucleus  of  our  personal  identity,  and  it  is  their 
actual  existence,  realized  as  a  solid  present  fact,  which 
makes  us  say  'as  sure  as  I  exist,  those  past  facts  were  part 
of  myself.'  They  are  the  kernel  to  which  the  represented 
parts  of  the  Self  are  assimilated,  accreted,  and  knit  on ; 
and  even  were  Thought  entirely  unconscious  of  itself  in 
the  act  of  thinking,  these  '  warm '  parts  of  its  present 
object  would  be  a  firm  basis  on  which  the  consciousness 
of  personal  identity  would  rest.*  Such  consciousness,  then, 


*  Some  subtle  rentier  will  object  that  the  Thought  cannot  call  any  part 
of  its  Object  'I '  and  knit  other  parts  on  to  it,  without  first  knitting  that 
part  on  to  Itself;  and  that  it  cannot  knit  it  on  to  Itself  without  knowing 
Itself  ; — so  that  our  supposition  (above,  p.  304)  that  the  Thought  may  con- 
ceivably  have  no  immediate  knowledge  of  Itself  is  thus  overthrown.  To 
which  the  reply  is  that  we  must  take  care  not  to  be  duped  by  words.  The 
words  /and  me  signify  nothing  mysterious  and  unexampled— they  are  at 
bottom  only  names  of  empJiasis ;  and  Thought  is  always  emphasizing 
something.  Within  a  tract  of  space  which  it  cognizes,  it  contrasts  a  here 
with  a  there  ;  within  a  tract  of  time  a  now  with  a  then  :  of  a  pair  of  things 
it  calls  one  this,  the  other  that.  I  and  thou,  I  and  it,  are  distinctions  exactly 
on  a  par  with  these, — distinctions  possible  in  an  exclusively  objective  field  of 
knowledge,  the  '  I '  meaning  for  the  Thought  nothing  but  the  bodily  life 
which  it  momentarily  feels.  The  sense  of  my  bodily  existence,  however 
obscurely  recognized  as  such,  may  then  be  the  absolute  original  of  my  con 
scious  selfhood,  the  fundamental  perception  Hint  lam.  All  appropriations 
may  be  made  to  it,  by  a  Thought  not  at  the  moment  immediately  cognized 
by  itself.  Whether  these  are  not  only  logical  possibilities  but  actual  facts 
is  something  not  yet  dogmatically  decided  in  the  text. 


342  PSYCHOLOGY. 

as  a  psychologic  fact,  can  be  fully  described  without  sup« 
posiiig  any  other  agent  than  a  succession  of  perishing 
thoughts,  endowed  with  the  functions  of  appropriation  and 
rejection,  and  of  which  some  can  know  and  appropriate  or 
reject  objects  already  known,  appropriated,  or  rejected  by 
the  rest. 

To  illustrate  by  diagram,  let  A,  B,  and  C  stand  for  three 


successive  thoughts,  each  with  its  object  inside  of  it.  If  B's 
object  be  A,  and  C's  object  be  B  ;  then  A,  B,  and  C  would 
stand  for  three  pulses  in  a  consciousness  of  personal  iden 
tity.  Each  pulse  would  le  something  different  from  the 
others  ;  but  B  would  know  and  adopt  A,  and  C  would 
know  and  adopt  A  and  B.  Three  successive  states  of  the 
same  brain,  on  which  each  experience  in  passing  leaves  its 
mark,  might  very  well  engender  thoughts  differing  from 
each  other  in  just  such  a  way  as  this. 

The  passing  Thought  then  seems  to  be  the  Thinker; 
and  though  there  may  be  another  non-phenomenal  Thinker 
behind  that,  so  far  we  do  not  seem  to  need  him  to  express 
the  facts.  But  we  cannot  definitively  make  up  our  mind 
about  him  until  we  have  heard  the  reasons  that  have  his 
torically  been  used  to  prove  his  reality. 

THE  PURE  SELF  OR  INNER  PRINCIPLE  OF  PERSONAL  UNITS , 

To  a  brief  survey  of  the  theories  of  the  Ego  let  us  then 
next  proceed.  They  are  three  in  number,  as  follows : 

1)  The  Spiritualist  theory  ; 

2)  The  Associationist  theory  ; 

H)  The  Transcendentalist  theory. 

The  Theory  of  the  Soul. 

In  Chapter  YI  we  were  led  ourselves  to  the  spiritualist 
theory  of  the  '  Soul,'  as  a  means  of  escape  from  the  unin- 
telligibilities  of  inind-stutf '  integrating '  with  itself,  and  from 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  343 

the  physiological  improbability  of  a  material  monad,  with 
thought  attached  to  it,  in  the  brain.  But  at  the  end  of  the 
chapter  we  said  we  should  examine  the  '  Soul '  critically  in 
a  later  place,  to  see  whether  it  had  any  other  advantages 
as  a  theory  over  the  simple  phenomenal  notion  of  a  stream 
of  thought  accompanying  a  stream  of  cerebral  activity,  by 
a  law  jdt  unexplained. 

The  theory  of  the  Soul  is  the  theory  of  popular  philoso 
phy  and  of  scholasticism,  which  is  only  popular  philosophy 
made  systematic.  It  declares  that  the  principle  of  individ 
uality  within  us  must  be  substantial,  for  psychic  phenomena 
are  activities,  and  there  can  be  no  activity  without  a  con 
crete  agent.  This  substantial  agent  cannot  be  the  brain  but 
must  be  something  immaterial ;  for  its  activity,  thought,  is 
both  immaterial,  and  takes  cognizance  of  immaterial  things, 
and  of  material  things  in  general  and  intelligible,  as  well  as 
in  particular  and  sensible  ways, — all  which  powers  are  in 
compatible  with  the  nature  of  matter,  of  which  the  brain 
is  composed.  Thought  moreover  is  simple,  whilst  the  ac 
tivities  of  the  brain  are  compounded  of  the  elementary  ac 
tivities  of  each  of  its  parts.  Furthermore,  thought  is  spon 
taneous  or  free,  whilst  all  material  activity  is  determined 
ab  extra  ;  and  the  will  can  turn  itself  against  all  corporeal 
goods  and  appetites,  which  would  be  impossible  were  it  a 
corporeal  function.  For  these  objective  reasons  the  prin 
ciple  of  psychic  life  must  be  both  immaterial  and  simple  as 
well  as  substantial,  must  be  what  is  called  a  Soul.  The 
same  consequence  follows  from  subjective  reasons.  Our 
consciousness  of  personal  identity  assures  us  of  our  essen 
tial  simplicity  :  the  owner  of  the  various  constituents  of  the 
self,  as  we  have  seen  them,  the  hypothetical  Arch-Ego 
whom  we  provisionally  conceived  as  possible,  is  a  real  en 
tity  of  whose  existence  self-consciousness  makes  us  directly 
aware.  No  material  agent  could  thus  turn  round  and  grasp 
itsdf — material  activities  always  grasp  something  else  than 
the  agent.  And  if  a  brain  could  grasp  itself  and  be  self- 
conscious,  it  would  be  conscious  of  itself  as  a  brain  and 
not  as  something  of  an  altogether  different  kind.  The  Soul 
then  exists  as  a  simple  spiritual  substance  in  which  the 
various  psychic  faculties,  operations,  and  affections  inhere, 


844  PSYCHOLOGY. 

If  we  ask  what  a  Substance  is,  the  only  answer  is  that 
it  is  a  self-existent  being,  or  one  which  needs  no  other  sub 
ject  in  which  to  inhere.  At  bottom  its  only  positive  deter 
mination  is  Being,  and  this  is  something  whose  meaning 
we  all  realize  even  though  we  find  it  hard  to  explain.  The 
Soul  is  moreover  an  individual  being,  and  if  we  ask  what 
that  is,  we  are  told  to  look  in  upon  our  Self,  and  we  shall 
learn  by  direct  intuition  better  than  through  any  abstract 
reply.  Our  direct  perception  of  our  own  inward  being  is 
in  fact  by  many  deemed  to  be  the  original  prototype  out 
of  which  our  notion  of  simple  active  substance  in  general  is 
fashioned.  The  consequences  of  the  simplicity  and  substan 
tiality  of  the  Soul  are  its  incorruptibility  and  natural  im 
mortality — nothing  but  God's  direct  fiat  can  annihilate  it — 
and  its  responsibility  at  all  times  for  whatever  it  may  have 
ever  done. 

This  substantialist  view  of  the  soul  was  essentially  the 
view  of  Plato  and  of  Aristotle.  It  received  its  completely 
formal  elaboration  in  the  middle  ages.  It  was  believed  in 
by  Hobbes,  Descartes,  Locke,  Leibnitz,  Wolf,  Berkeley,  and 
is  now  defended  by  the  entire  modern  dualistic  or  spirit 
ualistic  or  common-sense  school.  Kant  held  to  it  while 
denying  its  fruitfulness  as  a  premise  for  deducing  conse 
quences  verifiable  here  below.  Kant's  successors,  the  abso 
lute  idealists,  profess  to  have  discarded  it, — how  that  may 
be  we  shall  inquire  ere  long.  Let  us  make  up  our  minds 
what  to  think  of  it  ourselves. 

It  is  at  all  events  needless  for  expressing  the  actual  sub 
jective  phenomena  of  consciousness  as  they  appear.  We 
have  formulated  them  all  without  its  aid,  by  the  supposi 
tion  of  a  stream  of  thoughts,  each  substantially  different 
from  the  rest,  but  cognitive  of  the  rest  and  '  appropriate ' 
of  each  other's  content.  At  least,  if  I  have  not  already 
succeeded  in.  making  this  plausible  to  the  reader,  I  am 
hopeless  of  convincing  him  by  anything  I  could  add  row. 
The  unity,  the  identity,  the  individuality,  and  the  immateri 
ality  that  appear  in  the  psychic  life  are  thus  accounted  tol 
as  phenomenal  and  temporal  facts  exclusively,  and  with  no 
need  of  reference  to  any  more  simple  or  substantial  agent 
than  the  present  Thought  or  '  section '  of  the  stream.  We 


TEE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  848 

have  seen  it  to  be  single  and  unique  in  the  sense  of  having 
no  separable  parts  (above,  p.  239  ff.) — perhaps  that  is  the  only 
kind  of  simplicity  meant  to  be  predicated  of  the  soul.  The 
present  Thought  also  has  being, — at  least  all  believers  in 
the  Soul  believe  so — and  if  there  be  no  other  Being  in 
which  it  'inheres,'  it  ought  itself  to  be  a  'substance.'  If 
this  kind  of  simplicity  and  substantiality  were  all  that  ia 
predicated  of  the  Soul,  then  it  might  appear  that  we  had 
been  talking  of  the  soul  all  along,  without  knowing  it,  when 
we  treated  the  present  Thought  as  an  agent,  an  owner,  and 
the  like.  But  the  Thought  is  a  perishing  and  not  an  im 
mortal  or  incorruptible  thing.  Its  successors  may  contin 
uously  succeed  to  it,  resemble  it,  and  appropriate  it,  but 
they  are  not  it,  whereas  the  Soul-Substance  is  supposed  to 
be  a  fixed  unchanging  thing.  By  the  Soul  is  always  meant 
something  behind  the  present  Thought,  another  kind  of 
substance,  existing  on  a  non-phenomenal  plane. 

When  we  brought  in  the  Soul  at  the  end  of  Chapter  VI, 
as  an  entity  which  the  various  brain-processes  were  sup 
posed  to  affect  simultaneously,  and  which  responded  to 
their  combined  influence  by  single  pulses  of  its  thought,  it 
was  to  escape  integrated  mind-stuff  on  the  one  hand,  and 
an  improbable  cerebral  monad  on  the  other.  But  when 
(as  now,  after  all  we  have  been  through  since  that  earlier 
passage)  we  take  the  two  formulations,  first  of  a  brain  to 
whose  processes  pulses  of  thought  simply  correspond,  and 
second,  of  one  to  whose  processes  pulses  of  thought  in  a 
Soul  correspond,  and  compare  them  together,  we  see  that  at 
bottom  the  second  formulation  is  only  a  more  roundabout 
way  than  the  first,  of  expressing  the  same  bald  fact. 
That  bald  fact  is  that  ivhen  the  brain  acts,  a  thought  occurs. 
The  spiritualistic  formulation  says  that  the  brain-processes 
knock  the  thought,  so  to  speak,  out  of  a  Soul  which  stands 
there  to  receive  their  influence.  The  simpler  formulation 
says  that  the  thought  simply  comes.  But  what  positive 
meaning  has  the  Soul,  when  scrutinized,  but  the  ground  of 
possibility  of  the  thought  ?  And  what  is  the  '  knocking '  but 
the  determining  of  the  possibility  to  actuality  ?  And  what  is  this 
after  all  but  giving  a  sort  of  concreted  form  to  one's  belief 
that  the  corning  of  the  thought,  when  the  brain-processes 


846  PSYCHOLOGY. 

occur,  has  some  sort  of  ground  in  the  nature  of  things  ?  U 
the  world  Soul  be  understood  merely  to  express  that  claim, 
it  is  a  good  word  to  use.  But  if  it  be  held  to  do  more, 
to  gratify  the  claim, — for  instance,  to  connect  rationally  the 
thought  which  comes,  with  the  processes  which  occur,  and 
to  mediate  intelligibly  between  their  two  disparate  natures, 
— then  it  is  an  illusory  term.  It  is,  in  fact,  with  the  word 
Soul  as  with  the  word  Substance  in  general.  To  say  that 
phenomena  inhere  in  a  Substance  is  at  bottom  only  to 
record  one's  protest  against  the  notion  that  the  bare  exist 
ence  of  the  phenomena  is  the  total  truth.  A  phenomenon 
would  not  itself  be,  we  insist,  unless  there  were  something 
more  than  the  phenomenon.  To  the  more  we  give  the  pro 
visional  name  of  Substance.  So,  in  the  present  instance, 
we  ought  certainly  to  admit  that  there  is  more  than  the 
bare  fact  of  coexistence  of  a  passing  thought  with  a 
passing  brain-state.  But  we  do  not  answer  the  question 
'What  is  that  more?'  when  we  say  that  it  is  a  'Soul' 
which  the  brain-state  affects.  This  kind  of  more  explains 
nothing ;  and  when  we  are  once  trying  metaphysical  ex 
planations  we  are  foolish  not  to  go  as  far  as  we  can.  For  my 
own  part  I  confess  that  the  moment  I  become  metaphysical 
and  try  to  define  the  more,  I  find  the  notion  of  some  sort  of 
an  anima  mundi  thinking  in  all  of  us  to  be  a  more  promis 
ing  hypothesis,  in  spite  of  all  its  difficulties,  than  that  of  a 
lot  of  absolutely  individual  souls.  Meanwhile,  as  psycholo 
gists,  we  need  not  be  metaphysical  at  all.  The  phenomena 
are  enough,  the  passing  Thought  itself  is  the  only  verifiable 
thinker,  and  its  empirical  connection  with  the  brain-process 
is  the  ultimate  known  law. 

To  the  other  arguments  which  would  prove  the  need  of 
a  soul,  we  may  also  turn  a  deaf  ear.  The  argument  from 
free-will  can  convince  only  those  who  believe  in  free-will; 
and  even  they  will  have  to  admit  that  spontaneity  is  just  as 
possible,  to  say  the  least,  in  a  temporary  spiritual  agent 
like  our  '  Thought '  as  in  a  permanent  one  like  the  supposed 
Soul.  The  same  is  true  of  the  argument  from  the  kinds  of 
things  cognized.  Even  if  the  brain  could  not  cognize  uni- 
versals,  immate rials,  or  its  '  Self,'  still  the  '  Thought '  which 
we  have  relied  upon  in  our  account  is  not  the  brain,  closely 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  347 

as  it  seems  connected  with  it ;  and  after  all,  if  the  brain  could 
cognize  at  all,  one  does  not  well  see  why  it  might  not  cog 
nize  one  sort  of  thing  as  well  as  another.  The  great  diffi 
culty  is  in  seeing  how  a  thing  can  cognize  anything.  This 
difficulty  is  not  in  the  least  removed  by  giving  to  the  thing 
that  cognizes  the  name  of  Soul.  The  Spiritualists  do  not 
deduce  any  of  the  properties  of  the  mental  life  from 
otherwise  known  properties  of  the  soul.  They  simply  find 
various  characters  ready-made  in  the  mental  life,  and 
these  they  clap  into  the  Soul,  saying,  "  Lo  !  behold  the 
source  from  whence  they  flow !"  The  merely  verbal  charac 
ter  of  this  '  explanation '  is  obvious.  The  Soul  invoked,  far 
from  making  the  phenomena  more  intelligible,  can  only  be 
made  intelligible  itself  by  borrowing  their  form,— it  must 
be  represented,  if  at  all,  as  a  transcendent  stream  of  con 
sciousness  duplicating  the  one  we  know. 

Altogether,  the  Soul  is  an  outbirth  of  that  sort  of  phi 
losophizing  whose  great  maxim,  according  to  Dr.  Hodgson, 
is  :  "  Whatever  you  are  totally  ignorant  of,  assert  to  be  the 
explanation  of  everything  else." 

Locke  and  Kant,  whilst  still  believing  in  the  soul,  began 
the  work  of  undermining  the  notion  that  we  know  anything 
about  it.  Most  modern  writers  of  the  mitigated  spiritual 
istic,  or  dualistic  philosophy — the  Scotch  school,  as  it  is 
often  called  among  us — are  forward  to  proclaim  this  igno 
rance,  and  to  attend  exclusively  to  the  verifiable  phenomena 
of  self-consciousness,  as  we  have  laid  them  down.  Dr. 
Wayland,  for  example,  begins  his  Elements  of  Intellectual 
Philosophy  with  the  phrase  "  Of  the  essence  of  Mind  we 
know  nothing,"  and  goes  on  :  "  All  that  we  are  able  to  affirm 
of  it  is  that  it  is  something  which  perceives,  reflects,  remem 
bers,  imagines,  and  wills ;  but  what  that  something  is 
which  exerts  these  energies  we  know  not.  It  is  only  as  we 
are  conscious  of  the  action  of  these  energies  that  we  are 
conscious  of  the  existence  of  mind.  It  is  only  by  the  exer 
tion  of  its  own  powers  that  the  mind  becomes  cognizant  of 
their  existence.  The  cognizance  of  its  powers,  however, 
gives  us  no  knoAvledge  of  that  essence  of  which  they  are 
predicated.  In  these  respects  our  knowledge  of  mind  is 


348  PYSCHOLOGY. 

precisely  analogous  to  our  knowledge  of  matter."  This 
analogy  of  our  two  ignorances  is  a  favorite  remark  in  the 
Scotch  school.  It  is  but  a  step  to  lump  them  together 
into  a  single  ignorance,  that  of  the  '  Unknowable '  to  which 
any  one  fond  of  superfluities  in  philosophy  may  accord  the 
hospitality  of  his  belief,  if  it  so  please  him,  but  which  any 
one  else  may  as  freely  ignore  and  reject. 

The  Soul-theory  is,  then,  a  complete  superfluity,  so  far 
as  accounting  for  the  actually  verified  facts  of  conscious 
experience  goes.  So  far,  no  one  can  be  compelled  to  sub 
scribe  to  it  for  definite  scientific  reasons.  The  case  would 
rest  here,  and  the  reader  be  left  free  to  make  his  choice, 
were  it  not  for  other  demands  of  a  more  practical  kind. 

The  first  of  these  is  Immortality,  for  which  the  simpli 
city  and  substantiality  of  the  Soul  seem  to  offer  a  solid 
guarantee.  A  'stream'  of  thought,  for  aught  that  we  see 
to  be  contained  in  its  essence,  may  come  to  a  full  stop  at 
any  moment;  but  a  simple  substance  is  incorruptible,  and 
will,  by  its  own  inertia,  persist  in  Being  so  long  as  the  Cre 
ator  does  not  by  a  direct  miracle  snuff  it  out.  Unques 
tionably  this  is  the  stronghold  of  the  spiritualistic  belief, — 
as  indeed  the  popular  touchstone  for  all  philosophies  is  the 
question,  "What  is  their  bearing  on  a  future  life?" 

The  Soul,  however,  when  closely  scrutinized,  guarantees 
no  immortality  of  a  sort  we  care  for.  The  enjoyment  of  the 
atom-like  simplicity  of  their  substance  in  scecula  sceculorum 
would  not  to  most  people  seem  a  consummation  devoutly 
to  be  wished.  The  substance  must  give  rise  to  a  stream  of 
consciousness  continuous  with  the  present  stream,  in  order 
to  arouse  our  hope,  but  of  this  the  mere  persistence  of  the 
substance  per  se  offers  no  guarantee.  Moreover,  in  the 
general  advance  of  our  moral  ideas,  there  has  come  to  be 
something  rediculous  n\  the  way  our  forefathers  had  of 
grounding  their  hopes  of  immortality  on  the  simplicity  of 
their  substance.  The  demand  for  immortality  is  nowadays 
essentially  teleological.  We  believe  ourselves  immortal 
because  we  believe  ourselves  fit  for  immortality.  A  ' sub 
stance  '  ought  surely  to  perish,  we  think,  if  not  worthy 
to  survive;  and  an  insubstantial  'stream7  to  prolong  itself, 
provided  it  be  worthy,  if  the  nature  of  Things  is  organized 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OF  SELF.  349 

in  the  rational  way  in  which  we  trust  it  is.  Substance  or 
no  substance,  soul  or  '  stream,'  what  Lotze  says  of  immor 
tality  is  about  all  that  human  wisdom  can  say  : 

"  We  have  no  other  principle  for  deciding  it  than  this  general  ideal 
istic  belief  :  that  every  created  thing  will  continue  whose  continuance 
belongs  to  the  meaning  of  the  world,  and  so  long  as  it  does  so  belong  ; 
whilst  every  one  will  pass  away  whose  reality  is  justified  only  in  a  tran 
sitory  phase  of  the  world's  course.  That  this  principle  admits  of  no 
further  application  in  human  hands  need  hardly  be  said.  We  surely 
know  not  the  merits  which  may  give  to  one  being  a  claim  on  eternity, 
nor  the  defects  which  would  cut  others  off."  * 

A  second  alleged  necessity  for  a  soul-substance  is  our 
forensic  responsibility  before  God.  Locke  caused  an  up 
roar  when  he  said  that  the  unity  of  consciousness  made  a 
man  the  same  person,  whether  supported  by  the  same  sub 
stance  or  no,  and  that  God  would  not,  in  the  great  day, 
make  a  person  answer  for  what  he  remembered  nothing  of. 
It  was  supposed  scandalous  that  our  forgetfulness  might 
thus  deprive  God  of  the  chance  of  certain  retributions, 
which  otherwise  would  have  enhanced  his  '  glory.'  This  is 
certainly  a  good  speculative  ground  for  retaining  the  Soul— 
at  least  for  those  who  demand  a  plenitude  of  retribution. 
The  mere  stream  of  consciousness,  with  its  lapses  of  mem 
ory,  cannot  possibly  be  as  '  responsible  '  as  a  soul  which  is 
at  the  judgment  day  all  that  it  ever  was.  To  modern  read 
ers,  however,  who  are  less  insatiate  for  retribution  than 
their  grandfathers,  this  argument  will  hardly  be  as  con 
vincing  as  it  seems  once  to  have  been. 

One  great  use  of  the  Soul  has  always  been  to  account 
for,  and  at  the  same  time  to  guarantee,  the  closed  individu 
ality  of  each  personal  consciousness.  The  thoughts  of  one 
soul  must  unite  into  one  self,  it  was  supposed,  and  must  be 
eternally  insulated  from  those  of  every  other  soul.  But  we 
have  already  begun  to  see  that,  although  unity  is  the  rule  of 
each  man's  consciousness,  yet  in  some  individuals,  at  least, 
thoughts  may  split  away  from  the  others  and  form  sepa- 

*  Metaphysik,  §245  fin.  This  writer,  who  In  his  early  work,  the  Medi- 
ziuisohe  Psychologic,  was  (to  my  reading)  a  strong  defender  of  the  Soul- 
Substance  theory,  has  written  in  §§  243-5  of  Ins  Metaphysik  the  most  beau- 
tifnl  criticism  of  this  theory  which  exists. 


350  PSYCHOLOGY. 

rate  selves.  As  for  insulation,  it  would  be  rash,  in  view  of 
the  phenomena  of  thought-transference,  mesmeric  influence 
and  spirit-control,  which  are  being  alleged  nowadays  on 
better  authority  than  ever  before,  to  be  too  sure  about 
that  point  either.  The  definitively  closed  nature  of  our 
personal  consciousness  is  probably  an  average  statistical 
resultant  of  many  conditions,  but  not  an  elementary  force 
or  fact ;  so  that,  if  one  wishes  to  preserve  the  Soul,  the  less 
he  draws  his  arguments  from  that  quarter  the  better.  So 
long  as  our  self,  on  the  whole,  makes  itself  good  and  prac 
tically  maintains  itself  as  a  closed  individual,  why,  as  Lotze 
says,  is  not  that  enough  ?  And  why  is  the  frem^-an-individ- 
ual  in  some  inaccessible  metaphysical  way  so  much  prouder 
an  achievement  ?  * 

My  final  conclusion,  then,  about  the  substantial  Soul  is 
that  it  explains  nothing  and  guarantees  nothing.  Its  suc 
cessive  thoughts  are  the  only  intelligible  and  verifiable 
things  about  it,  and  definitely  to  ascertain  the  correlations 
of  these  with  brain-processes  is  as  much  as  psychology  can 
empirically  do.  From  the  metaphysical  point  of  view,  it  is 
true  that  one  may  claim  that  the  correlations  have  a  ra 
tional  ground ;  and  if  the  word  Soul  could  be  taken  to  mean 
merely  some  such  vague  problematic  ground,  it  would  be 
unobjectionable.  But  the  trouble  is  that  it  professes  to 
give  the  ground  in  positive  terms  of  a  very  dubiously  cred 
ible  sort.  I  therefore  feel  entirely  free  to  discard  the  word 
Soul  from  the  rest  of  this  book.  If  I  ever  use  it,  it  will  bo 
in  the  vaguest  and  most  popular  way.  The  reader  who 
finds  any  comfort  in  the  idea  of  the  Soul,  is,  however,  per 
fectly  free  to  continue  to  believe  in  it ;  for  our  reasonings 
have  not  established  the  non-existence  of  the  Soul ;  they 
have  only  proved  its  superfluity  for  scientific  purposes. 

The  next  theory  of  the  pure  Self  to  which  we  pass  is 

The  Associationist  Theory. 

Locke  paved  the  way  for  it  by  the  hypothesis  he  sug< 
gested  of  the  same  substance  having  two  successive  con- 

*  On  the  empirical  and  transcendental  conceptions  of  the  self's  unity. 
see  Lotzfi-  Metaphysic,  §  244. 


THE  CONSCIOUSNESS  OP  SELF.  351 

Bciousnesses,  or  of  tlie  same  consciousness  being  supported 
by  more  than  one  substance.  He  made  his  readers  feel 
that  the  important  unity  of  the  Self  was  its  verifiable  and 
felt  unity,  and  that  a  metaphysical  or  absolute  unity  would 
be  insignificant,  so  long  as  a  consciousness  of  diversity  might 
be  there. 

Hume  showed  how  great  the  consciousness  of  diversity 
actually  was.  In  the  famous  chapter  on  Personal  Identity, 
in  his  Treatise  on  Human  Nature,  he  writes  as  follows  : 

"There  are  some  philosophers  who  imagine  we  are  every  moment 
intimately  conscious  of  what  we  call  our  SELF  ;  that  we  feel  its  exist 
ence  and  its  continuance  in  existence,  and  are  certain,  beyond  the  evi 
dence  of  a  demonstration,  both  of  its  perfect  identity  and  simplicity. 
.  .  .  Unluckily  all  these  positive  assertions  are  contrary  to  that  very 
experience  which  is  pleaded  for  them,  nor  have  we  any  idea  of  Self, 
after  the  manner  it  is  here  explained.  ...  It  must  be  some  one  im 
pression  that  gives  rise  to  every  real  idea.  ...  If  any  impression  givea 
rise  to  the  idea  of  Self,  that  impression  must  continue  invariably 
the  same  through  the  whole  course  of  our  lives,  since  self  is  supposed 
to  exist  after  that  manner.  But  there  is  no  impression  constant  and 
invariable.  Pain  and  pleasure,  grief  and  joy,  passions  and  sensations 
succeed  each  other,  and  never  all  exist  at  the  same  time.  .  .  .  For  my 
part,  when  I  enter  moat  intimately  into  what  I  call  myself,  I  always 
stumble  on  some  particular  perception  or  other  of  heat  or  cold,  light  or 
shade,  love  or  hatred,  pain  or  pleasure.  I  never  can  catch  myself  at 
any  time  without  a  perception,  and  rever  can  observe  anything  but  the 
perception.  When  my  perceptions  are  removed  for  any  time,  as  by 
sound  sleep,  so  long  am  I  insensible  of  myself,  and  may  truly  be  said 
not  to  exist.  And  were  all  my  perceptions  removed  by  death,  and  could 
I  neither  think,  nor  feel,  nor  see,  nor  love,  nor  hate  after  the  dissolution 
of  my  body,  I  should  be  entirely  annihilated,  nor  do  I  conceive  what  is 
farther  requisite  to  make  me  a  perfect  non-entity.  If  anyone,  upon 
serious  and  unprejudiced  reflection,  thinks  he  has  a  different  notion  of 
himself,  I  must  confess  I  can  reason  no  longer  with  him.  All  I  cap 
allow  him  is,  that  he  may  be  in  the  right  as  well  as  I,  and  that  we  are 
essentially  different  in  this  particular.  He  may,  perhaps,  perceive 
something  simple  and  continued  which  he  calls  himself;  though  I  am 
certain  there  is  no  such  principle  in  me. 

"  But  setting  aside  some  metaphysicians  of  this  kind,  I  may  venture 
to  affirm  of  the  rest  of  mankind  that  they  are  nothing  but  a  bundle  or 
collection  of  different  perceptions,  which  succeed  each  other  with  an 
inconceivable  rapidity,  and  are  in  a  perpetual  flux  and  movement.  Our 
eyes  cannot  turn  in  their  sockets  without  varying  our  perceptions.  Our 
thought  is  still  more  variable  than  our  sight;  and  all  our  other  senses 
and  faculties  contribute  to  this  change;  nor  is  there  any  single  power  of 


852  PSYCHOLOGY. 

the  soul  which  remains  unalterably  the  same,  perhaps  for  one  moment 
The  mind  is  a  kind  of  theatre,  where  several  perceptions  successively 
make  their  appearance;  pass,  repass,  glide  away  and  mingle  in  an  infi 
nite  variety  of  postures  and  situations.  There  is  properly  no  simplicity 
in  it  atone  time,  nor  identity  in  different ;  whatever  natural  propension 
we  may  have  to  imagine  that  simplicity  and  identity.  The  comparison 
of  the  theatre  must  not  mislead  us.  They  are  the  successive  percep 
tions  only,  that  constitute  the  mind ;  nor  have  we  the  most  distant 
notion  of  the  place  where  these  scenes  are  represented,  nor  of  the  ma- 
terial  of  which  it  is  composed. " 

But  Hume,  after  doing  this  good  piece  of  introspective 
work,  proce